Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Death to Perfectionism!

I'm a perfectionist. I admit it, as much as I hate to. It definitely makes creativity more difficult since I have a tendency to start something and then never finish it because it's not meeting my standards along the way. This goes for lots of things - school projects, crafts, sewing, organizing...most everything, really. But when I finally push myself to finish it, I find that I've learned a lot from the process. Sometimes it's that things that are the most frustrating and ugly in the middle of the process actually end up coming out looking pretty good. Or maybe it's that I need to do things differently next time, which is a valuable lesson itself - like that Thomas Edison quote about all his thousands of failures at making the lightbulb, to which he responded that he had actually succeeded thousands of times in figuring out all those ways not to make a lightbulb.

Computers don't help my perfectionism either. Ctrl+Z and delete seem great, but they can hold me back as well. When I was taking a class in Digital Illustration, my teacher would tell us over and over again not to let ourselves Ctrl+Z and just let the drawing evolve. Looking back, that was pretty sound advice.

I've realized that I need to allow myself to fail so that eventually I can succeed. I'm depriving myself of lessons and experiences that can only push me forward in the long run. I know this all sounds rather vague, but it feels vague to me too right now. But I'm putting it out there, in writing, that I'm going to make myself do the things I contemplate and talk myself out of. And if they fail, then move on or do it again or make it better.

...starting tomorrow.

Okay, okay. Starting...now!


toothpick said...

This doesn't sound vague at all! Sounds like a lot of illuminating stuff going on. What a ride! And good for you to saying 'no' to perfect :-)

Liz said...

I think we should plan some watercolor painting as an exercise in 'making it work'. there's no do over in watercolor painting.. unless you count starting over. You do great have faith!

Chelc said...

Liz, I think that's a great idea! You will have to be my watercolor zen master!


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