Musings on the Artist's Life
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
On perfectionism and the true path to creativity
I’m a perfectionist. This quality has been advantageous in my day job, which is as an editor. But it has been problematic for my other vocation, which is as an artist. Creativity demands experimentation, which means making mistakes. In other words, you need to push through the bad to get to the good.
I used to approach each canvas or blank piece of paper with the goal that it would contain my masterpiece. That’s a lot to live up to! Needless to say, I was frustrated when the masterpiece didn’t show up. I thought that the perfect image lived in my head and was just waiting to come out fully formed on the paper.
But that’s not how creativity works, I eventually discovered. Creativity is play. When it occurred to me that I could play and make mistakes and not need to show this part of my process if I didn’t care to, this freed up my perfectionist self to experiment. Who cares if only 1 out of 40 drawings made the cut? In fact this is exactly how creativity works.
Sometimes it feels like I am making mudpies when I push through all the noise in my head to get to the clarity of song. There are lots and lots of fails. But now that the pressure is off it’s time to have fun. And as in life, it is so worthwhile to take risks and make mistakes and simply live your intention rather than just thinking about it.
July 25, 2018
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