On Perfection

These past few months I’ve been happily tied up with participating in the #creativeUNblock projects with the Jealous Curator (she’s just fabulous).  It’s actually been quite liberating for so many reasons.  A huge hurdle I have overcome in doing these projects (specifically with January’s unblock project) is making mistakes.  It used to be I would make a mistake and I wasn’t happy with the outcome of what I made.  I wouldn’t finish the piece I started and make an excuse for not working on it like, “oh, I just need to stop over working it…  I’ll just finish it later”.  Then I would stash the unfinished work with the others that have collected a year’s worth of dust.  Afterward, I would shut down all my creative outlets for a very long while.  It was like I was punishing myself for making something with which I was not satisfied by not making anything else for months on end and sometimes years.  Pretty silly, right?!  Having the expectation that ev-er-y-thing I create comes out to my mind’s exacting specifications, even when my mind doesn’t know exactly know what it wants sometimes, is crazy.  In other words, the expectation of achieving perfection each and every time I pick up a paintbrush or pencil is absolutely ludicrous. And every time I didn’t create that level of “perfection” for which I planned was disappointing.  I felt crushed and often thought, “who am I to even think to pick up a paintbrush?!”

But with these projects it’s becoming easier to make something completely terrible not pleasing to my eye and then moving on to make something that genuinely surprises and excites me.  Now, I am frequently pumped up to start the next project all the while maintaining my enthusiasm to finish a work that I already started.

Allowing yourself to make mistakes is part of it.  It’s a part of the process.  Making mistakes is about growing and finding your creative voice to distinguish yourself through whatever medium you choose.  It can be painful sometimes, but at the heart of it, the work is for you.  YOU choose who can see your mess ups, if you want anybody to see them at all.  Or you can choose to proudly hang up your awkward phase works and celebrate them as part of your creative history.  Whatever.  The choice is yours because the work ultimately comes from the depths of your imagination and squishy feeling parts that are intimate and personal, which is why going through these phases can be difficult.  Just because something you envisioned didn’t come out the way you wanted doesn’t mean you should stop creating, it just means you need to keep creating.

Happy making, everybody!

xo

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