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Is Perfectionism Stifling Your Creativity

by Marie Vonow (follow)
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Creativity (29)      Creative (12)      Perfectionism (11)      Failure (8)      Perfect (3)     


Is Perfectionism Stifling Your Creativity
Image by Marie Vonow

Recently I read an article where an artist said she was not interested in 'the perfect print' and disliked prefabricated kits where the results are neat and exact. After reading the complete article I wondered if the concept of being perfect and producing something without fault stifles creativity.

For some of her pieces this artist builds up layers of a variety of materials such as dyed tissue, thick paste and salvaged materials. When the layers are dry she cuts through the layers to expose bits of what is underneath. She embellishes with machine stitching, paint and anything else that grabs her imagination. Sometimes she adds small amounts of text.

The creations of this artist can be found in various galleries in England and New York and her work is valued because it is individual and has messages connected with the natural environment, the value of personal narrative and issues of living in a sustainable way.

If she was hung up with being perfect she wouldn't be so creative and produce such individual pieces.

How perfectionism may be stifling your creativity
Aiming to be perfect makes you afraid to try because you might fail in some way. In fact you will fail because nothing is perfect or without fault.
You are constantly criticising your work.
You are afraid to try something different or innovative.
You are afraid of your work being criticised. Let's face it there will always be someone who will be critical. However, they may intend to be giving constructive criticism or even just a suggestion to show they are thinking about what you have created.

The person may think they are being helpful and in fact if you weren't over sensitive the idea might be useful. However, if you are a perfectionist you will take that input as a put down and you will wonder if it's worth continuing to do what you do.
You delay starting a project because you need to do more research, learn extra skills or perfect those skills. At uni I did far more research for essays than necessary and then often got so confused by all the information. When I was looking for a particular quote I would have trouble finding it.
You wait for the perfect time to make a start. However, the time will never be perfect and you end up procrastinating and getting frustrated. You may then struggle to meet the deadline.



Thinking
Image courtesy of Pixabay

You never feel you have finished a project because there is always something to tidy up, change or edit.
You only see perceived flaws in your work. For this reason many actors avoid watching the movies they star in.
You feel so tired all the time from worrying about every aspect of your 'art'. Who can be creative when they are so tired?

Now, I've got a question for you. Imagine there was such a thing as 'perfect', which I don't believe there is. Imagine you wrote a short story, did a painting or made a piece of pottery and it was just perfect, nothing that could be improved in any way. What would you do next?

You would have nothing to learn and nothing to aim for. There would be no point in attending workshops because your work was already perfect. You would never have the satisfaction of doing a new piece and thinking it was better in some regard.

Tips for overcoming perfectionism
Accept there is no such thing as perfect
Just get started and move forward from there.
Try to accept the 'Near enough is good enough,' mantra.
If you fear your work being rejected by publishers, galleries or other places you submit it, look at the positive side. Research has found rejection sometimes encourages future creativity. In fact some major 'artists' developed their innovative styles after their earlier mainstream attempts were rejected.
Just enjoy being creative as a way of expressing yourself, for yourself.
Don't over analyse what you create.



Street art
Image courtesy of Pixabay

It can be positive to set yourself some standards but aiming at 'perfect' can destroy your creativity. If perfectionism is a major problem in your life and makes you miserable, consider seeking professional help. It has been found extreme perfectionism can be part of anxiety and depression.


# Creative
# Creativity
# Failure
# Perfect
# Perfectionism
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