Saturday, July 2, 2016

Scrapbook Saturday: Fighting Perfectionism

This is the seventh piece in a series about overcoming creativity killers. You can read about creative roadblocks, stories to tell, using a kit, creative energy, organizing supplies, and planning all on my blog.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic, a book about creativity, writes that "done is better than perfect." She recounts a story about her novel, The Signature of All Things. When she finished the book, she realized that it was a pretty good book (in her opinion--I haven't read it so I can't confirm or deny that) but there was a flaw with one of her minor characters. In order to fix the flaw, she would have to do some serious re-writing and add a substantial number of pages to the already large novel. She considered and considered it and then opted to leave it at as it was.

This story has stayed with me for a long time and her statement that, "DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT" has become my mantra in relating to creative work-especially my scrapbooking. I have been paralyzed by perfectionism when trying to scrapbook. Sometimes there are photos you want to get just right and you never end up scrapping them because you are so afraid you will do it wrong.

Do you ever feel like that? I'm sure we all do. I had a serious epiphany in my life that I have been working really hard to apply to all aspects of my life. I want to live life as fully as possible and I don't want to allow perfectionism to rob me of the joy I can glean from a variety of experiences, scrapbooking included. 

In my experience, perfectionism frequently robs me of joy with my projects, family, home, and experiences. I lose joy when I insist on my home being absolutely perfectly clean and organized because I have six children. (That isn't to suggest that we don't keep it mostly clean and mostly organized. ) When I focus on perfectionism in my writing, I stress over every word, instead of allowing the words to flow over me. When I focus on trying to get my layouts perfect, the pleasure of creation dwindles for me.

Ok, I'm sure you are about to contradict me. Perhaps, for you, perfectionism does add to your joy. If that's the case, just ignore me. But if perfectionism is keeping you from starting or completing projects, enjoying your life as it is, or from being creative in any way, its time to lose it--perfectionism, that is. Drop it like a hot potato and throw it in the trash. You don't need that negativity in your life.

So dump the perfectionism and take risks in your work. Do your best. Enjoy the process. Revel in the completion. Enjoy your flaws and imperfections because they make your work human, interesting, and unique.

What do you think about perfectionism? Has it robbed you of joy while creating? Does it stop you from creating or doing meaningful things? Have you been able to overcome perfectionism? 


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