The #1 Killer of Creativity

For me, perfectionism is the #1 killer of creativity. Nothing I do ever meets my standards. Sometimes I lie and pretend I’m satisfied with the results. Sometimes I remember not to point out every fault and just smile and say thank you when I receive praise, but even when I do, I’m thinking of those faults.

Knowing that my creative endeavor will fall short saps my excitement, drains my energy, murders my enthusiasm almost before I begin. How could it not? Where does this standard come from? Nothing is perfect. Everyone knows that. So, why do I expect the impossible of myself?

Perfectionism is a denial of self. If I can’t accept that where I am is a good place, I can’t ever move forward. I won’t ever improve because eventually I will stop trying.

Perfectionism is selfishness. I can’t fully appreciate anyone else’s work either because I’ve set myself up as judge. I see its flaws and temper my praise.

Perfectionism is arrogance. Who qualified me to set this impossible standard? If nothing is perfect, who am I to think I can achieve what others can’t?

Perfectionism is death.

Let it go and create.

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21 thoughts on “The #1 Killer of Creativity

  1. I think this is the #1 killer of a book before it ever starts- at least it was for me- it was only when I let go of perfection and began actually writing that manuscripts began getting written! Thanks for the food for thought 🙂


  2. A very timely message for me. I think perfectionism is killing my writing buzz right now, and just as I’m about to finish another book!! Arghh. Gotta let it go…


  3. Strangely, I find that I am much more creative when I don’t try to be. If I just sit and not do anything, and most importantly, not think anything, my ideas will start to emerge–come out of hiding, so to speak. But furrow my brow just a little and they’ll scamper away like frightened forest critters.


  4. You are so right. Everyone has their own definition of what perection is and what its not. It does block a writers ability to just write.


  5. You said that so well, Linda! It plagues everyone who wants to improve their craft.

    I love what SupperClubStories said, “…they’ll scamper away like frightened forest critters.”


  6. I do not need to worry about this, because I am perfect 😉
    ha…okay, seriously speaking, yes, perfection or the desire to strive for it, can kill your creativity, but the desire to improve and make something better, I think is a very good thing.


    1. I totally agree with you, Alannah. I am not advocating settling for mediocrity. But never being satisfied because it’s not PERFECT means I will eventually give up rather than keep working and improve.


  7. This is where something like National Novel Writing Month can be useful. The secondary inner monologue going on while I write is generally ‘I-suck-as-a-writer’ and in NaNo, there’s not enough time for that if if I’m trying to make my word count goals.


  8. My question is: Is there anything that doesn’t kill creativity?

    Between the daily distractions and the background noise coming from the collective of voices which seems to scream, “You are the worst writer on the face of this planet and possibly in the whole universe”, well, it is hard to keep going.


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