Trying to be absolutely perfect in every detail with everything we create is an easy habit to get into.
Of course we want to create the best work we can, we want to create in an authentic way that’s true to us, a way that reflects and supports who we are.
When you unleash your creativity you want it to be alive and focused, on fire, invincible and unstoppable.
But taking this expectation too far, from caring about your creative work, into the realms of unhealthy perfectionism, is a certain route to creative block.
Without fail, “Creative Perfectionism” will lead to, at best the slowing down and restricting of your creativity, and at worst cause you to stop creating altogether.
Under these creativity choking conditions, when you unleash your creativity, it’ll be less like a rocket trip to the moon, more like a soggy firework that just won’t light.
The fact is, whoever we are, everything we create WON'T be perfect.
And, more importantly, it’s OK that it’s not perfect. In fact, it’s actually fantastic that everything ISN’T perfect as it gives us the chance to observe, learn and grow in our creativity.
So here are 7 of the many valuable reasons why we should reject Creative Perfectionism and just create anyway:
1. It can keep you moving forward on a creative project. It can be easy to get stuck in the tiny detail of a creative project and feel yourself getting more and more frustrated. But by accepting that this is the best you can do right now, and leaving open the option of coming back to improve upon it later, you can move on with the rest of the project, rather than grinding to a complete halt and abandoning the whole thing.
2. It can show you where you don’t want to go. Maybe you’ve recorded a basic music track and come to the point of adding some orchestral backing. 3 days of experimenting later you come to the conclusion that actually the vocal and melody of the original track is highlighted by a very minimal arrangement, not drowned out by a 24 piece orchestra.
3. It can open you to new way of seeing and thinking. Trying to create perfectly all the time can narrow your vision and thinking. By creating in different ways, and being willing to make mistakes, and go down dead ends, you’re bound to come across new ways of creating that you never would have had you stuck to the same route to perfectionism every time you created.
4. It can connect you to new people. Going to a new class or group in a creative form you’ve no or very little experience in, with a group of people of people all in the same position as you, can be a very supportive and friendly experience. And, with your expectations and need to be perfect kept in check, it can be a whole lot more fun!
5. It can set you off on wonderful creative tangents. Maybe after a few days of trying to redesign your website logo, you don’t feel you’ve got anywhere, and keep producing new logos that are great but just not quite appropriate for this project. A colleague walking past however loves one of your “rejected” logos and uses it in a whole other project, giving you complete credit for the design.
6. It can teach you more about your own creativity than any book or course. Whatever you create, there are basic skills and techniques you can develop with the aid of books, manuals, courses and teachers. But to really get to know your own unique way of expressing your creativity, the best and ONLY way to learn will always be to just get creating.
7. It can make you feel alive! Sometimes it’s just the act of creating as wildly and fiercely as you can that brings the real joy and thrill. The end product is irrelevant, it’s the way that you throw yourself in with all the energy and creativity you have is what’s makes you feel creatively alive.
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