Advice, Doubt, Fiction, Goals, Musings, Writing

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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Editing, Novel, Words, Writing

A portrait in words

wordportraitAs I mentioned yesterday, while I let my manuscript rest from my rounds of cutting and stitching and appending, I’ll be working on a portrait. Many times my artistic talent became my savior in school. Standing in front of my classmates to give an oral report was a guarantee that I would end up pale and sweating, with my heart beating so hard my barely audible voice sounded as choppy as the worst of cell phone connections. So, whenever possible, I opted to fulfill my “report” obligations by using paint, paper, clay, or fabric.

So, you say, thanks for the colorful childhood memory, but how does that relate to writing? Simple: I have more confidence in my editing skills than my draft writing skills.

Faces or figures have always been my favorite subjects. As children do, I began as an impressionist, but being the perfectionist that I am, I developed my talent toward photo-realism. But the hard part is already done in portraiture. I don’t have to create the faces, you see, I just interpret them.

So I sweat and shake, whimper and rant, push and pull to get that draft down, but then when I have the complete story—the face, so to speak—I can rub my hands together in joyful anticipation and start editing. I can sketch and delineate, shade and lift, I can take my Berol Turquoise 9H and polish that skin until it gleams. That’s the easy part.

That’s the fun of editing.