The Pros and Cons of Perfectionism in Creativity and How to Deal With It
Is your first language German? You can read this post in your native tongue over at Janna’s blog.
I have been thinking a lot about perfectionism in my own creative endeavours. So, as part of the six part series that Claire of heart handmade uk and I are currently writing; to help you " Unleash Your Creativity”, I want to discuss the pros and cons of perfectionism and creativity.
Creativity and perfectionism seem to be contradictory but in the end, maybe they’re not.
When I had the idea for today's post, I first wanted to write only about the negative aspects of perfectionism - as it can stop you being creative and it can stifle the creative process before it begins.
How he can be a creativity killer and tyrant. I know this feeling too well; I'm rarely satisfied with my work and always my biggest critic .
But it quickly became clear that perfectionism also has positive sides; growth and experience in your own creative field.
So, what now?
I decided to write a short pros and cons list and consider how to deal with perfectionism and can use it to your own (creative) advantage.
The Pros and Cons of Perfectionism
The pros of perfectionism:
Many famous people are inherently perfectionists; perfectionism drives, stands behind and whips your into (creative) shape, pushing you to your creative limits.
Attention to detail seems to be an important criteria of perfectionism. It is precisely this attention to detail makes for unique work and can that itself can reflect the intensity and passion used in the creative process.
If you set your mind to something, you want to achieve it at any cost and you can be willing to learn new things and to push yourself to the limit. These newly acquired skills can be put into creative projects again .
The Cons of trying to be Perfect!
- Comparing yourself to others and wondering why you can’t do the same things, can stop you being creative before you begin. You are wondering why you can’t do something that another person has been doing for years and that discourages you and can stop you from creating. These thoughts don’t serve you. You need to learn that you are not at the same level as certain other artisans, that your situation is unique, life situations will be inevitably be different and you can create on the level that is suitable for YOU.
- Trying to be perfect, can make your own creativity plateau; a project can remain unfinished because you aren’t happy with certain aspects of the piece. Whether it be furniture, journalling or scrapbook layouts; we can all suffer from the little negative thoughts that come with perfectionism. I have half-finished projects all over my craft room because I ‘run out of steam’.
- Perfectionism in your life is down to YOUR own usually, very high expectations. Those expectations will seldom be met, it’s possible that you just haven’t acquired the necessary skills yet, which often ends in frustration and self-reproach, and in the worst case scenario, giving up completely.
- There are people who are predisposed perfectionism and prone to extremes. Even a small failure can discourage them enough to completely give up their craft, assuming that their own processes don’t work. Instead of trying to learn a new way, they could just give up.
- Incredibly high, unrealistic expectations can discourage you from the very beginning. Even before you start.
- Perfectionism can suck the life out of you. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, work at it or energy you put into a project, you just can’t it ‘right’. Trying to match your own high expectations can leave you exhausted, while the negative thoughts from YOUR OWN desires to be perfect are still there, niggling at you.
- Perfectionism appears to have two faces and you can’t seem to have one without the other. The important thing, is to be aware of your own negative thoughts and turn them in positives thoughts. You can easily develop strategies on how you can move forward and succeed in your creative field.
Perfectionism and creativity - another tip
Advice often heard and rarely followed (I speak from personal experience here): enjoy the process. It is not just about fun in the activities, like moving the brush back and forth, but also joy to have with the time spent being creative, with the feelings that arise when working, be they positive or negative.
Finally I can say that I do not believe that perfectionism is a creativity killer per se. The key is your attitude towards it and the ability to look at it as a ‘tool’ that we use, but can also put down.
I'm interested in your experiences and perspectives on perfectionism?
Have you missed the first part of the series? Then now read about 'ten ways to boost creativity' or 'ten ways to make more time to make'.