Beginnings and Endings

One of the most challenging aspects of recording is deciding when to end. Funny to acknowledge this knowing that the struggle around endings does not warrant the same press as that of beginning... much as we see tags about "best ways to get started on a project" and "10 strategies to get going" the idea of deciding when to end seems to hover off somewhere in the shadowy background.  In my experience with musicians and writers however, ending tends to be a much more difficult issue to resolve than does beginning. Why? 

Personality type, expectations around how the world will greet a recording (or not), timeline, budget, and the means of production all play a role in this challenge. Home/digital recording studios offer endless options and when making a record "off the clock" exploring these options can seem a valid and worthwhile pursuit. I guess what I see as the challenge here comes in trying to maintain the energy of a recording, parts of its wildness. This is no small subject. I have been a part of collaborations or solo works that felt hasty and cramped just I have taken part in projects that seemed to drag out too long. So how do we know when to end? How can we gauge when a work of art has realized it's most ideal form?