Thursday, 5 June 2014

on perfectionism and why it's the death knell of creativity

perfectionism sucks. literally - it sucks the life out of everything creative.

now, you might not agree with me here - that's a pretty bold statement. you might be hearing some of the following responses in your mind after reading this:

"but if a job's worth doing it's worth doing well"
"i couldn't produce something that wasn't right - it wouldn't feel right"
"if it's not perfect then what's the point?"

those are all fear responses lovely. they're all the kind of voices that will keep you stuck not finishing, not publishing, not listing and not doing what you long to do.

yes, you want to do your best. yes, you want to offer something valuable and worthwhile. yes, you want to feel proud of the things you offer and create.

but answer me this lovely - can you feel proud of something if it's never finished? if you never feel brave enough to share it with the world?

today i really want to urge you to be brave. to strike out. to finish. to forget the constraints of perfectionism and to soar to knew heights!

you literally never know what you might create and what new things you might learn.

and once you have created your imperfect offering? what then? here's some advice from my heart directly to yours:

i am admittedly terrible at this - i need to take this on board as much as the next person. i am always prone to fiddle and faff and tweak and alter. you have to let your offerings take root. give people the time and space to take you up on what you offer. give them the time to consider them properly.

give yourself the time and freedom to work on your next offering!

by publishing your ideas, by letting them out into the world you give yourself the creative freedom to move on to the next idea, the next project, the next big thing. without that you remain stuck with your half finished project (or projects) for much longer than you need to.

what would you do if you knew you could not fail? let me know in the comments.



Virginie Lykins said...

While there is a time and space for perfection ( for example if you are a doctor measuring out medecin ) Life, and beauty is perfectly imperfect in many ways.... beside 'beauty is in the eyes of the beholder' so who is the judge of ' 'perfection' ?

Mechelle said...

This is so true. I have struggled with this since art school. I noticed that the things I create almost spontaneously are the things I got more compliments about, or have sold more on Etsy. It is so hard to stop over thinking what I create and just simply enjoy the creating.

Melissa at said...

This is such a great post! I used to live at a Tibetan center and watching the monks spend hundreds of hours creating sand mandalas - only to brush them away at the end - taught me so much about the importance of the process vs the finished work.

Duni said...

I love that quote at the top! Thanks for the reminder...I tend to be perfectionist and it does make me miserable at times...

pasqueflower said...

Such a wonderful post! I think part of the reason I'm having difficulty finishing my granddaughter's graduation quilt is that I want it to be perfect. Ditto for the memory quilt I am making for my coworker.
Perfectionism is stifling. Yet I still want my work to meet high standards. Constant tension there.