There are always at least two options with the creative struggle. Keep going and try to turn a sow's ear into something better, or give up, knowing that you have tried everything you can think of but now you really need to move on. I find about half the time perseverance will pay off and after countless trials and auditions, I am happy with the result. The rest of the time I feel like I have explored all the same options, but the result is still a mess.
The 'respond to the piece' mantra works particularly well for the more abstract works, where you have a starting point but no fixed idea of where the end point will be. However, I am just as likely to find myself in a no through road when I have a clear design, but I just can't translate it into my vision.
It seems, looking back, that the things which came together in a hurry have been the better and more satisfying works. The ones with ongoing problems often don't get to a happy solution.
Of course, every dead end is in its own way a learning experience. Mainly I've learned that I don't enjoy dead ends!
I think there is a difference between this dilemma and the kind of working method where you know you are going to make a few samples to see which is going to work best.
How about you? Do you know when to give up?
Julia in NZ