Some thoughts I’ve been pondering lately… and I just wanted to share.
Like so many other things in life, art is a total high-wire act.
It’s this crazy mix of trying to find new and fresh ways into these absolutely universal stories of love, pain, life, death, healing and utter brokenness. And you have to tell stories in a way that people connect with. New and comfortable, new then comfortable. You have to leap into that newness and not be afraid to make mistakes.
Death to perfectionism!
See, perfectionism tends to be the death of a writer… I have to be able to write 10 crappy versions of something before I get to something I really want to share. I have to trust that today is not forever, and that this draft doesn’t always have to be permanent. I will always have things to learn. My words can always be improved.
That’s just part of the adventure.
And I am a hardcore perfectionist.
Nobody wants to be friends with someone who’s a perfectionist all the time. Nobody wants to create with someone who believes to the very core of their soul that they are 100% right all the time. That means there is no room for error or change or mistakes. And if you think you’re perfect, you’re probably never going to accept imperfections in other people either.
Hello, worst friend ever.
But being a writer requires you to believe in the words you’re saying and the stories you’re telling, and being willing to fight for them to the ends of the earth. You have to be confident and concrete in every thing you put to paper.
This is the story I’m trying to tell. This is the heart behind my words. This is the final word, at least in this moment.
And yet, you have to be willing to toss it all out at a moment’s notice. You have to believe that something else you could come up with tomorrow might be better than today. It means living on a razor’s edge of “I am not perfect. My words are not perfect” and being willing to fully and completely admit that to everyone you come in contact with.
But on the other awesome side – you get to live in a world where tomorrow’s words will be better. You’ll learn more, live more, experience more – and tomorrow, you’ll wake up a better artist.
Perfectionism will kill that awesome side of the razor’s edge.
If you’re already perfect, what does tomorrow bring?
I am a perfectionist to the extreme. I’m a firstborn with a wild aversion to ever making mistakes. What if I screw something up and that single mistake ends up becoming the only thing people remember about me? I shudder to think.
But my life is so so much better when I stare down this battle head on. I’m a young writer, not even 10 years out of high school. I have so much to learn every single day. But life seems more doable when I admit that I can’t do it all. The projects I’m writing today are light years better than what I was writing 5 years ago. Maybe in another 5 years, my stories will be even better!j
And in the meantime, I’m growing as a writer and artist, (hopefully) becoming a better one every day.
And I get to have adventures, living with amazingly talented people who inspire me and push me forward. I am seriously the luckiest girl in the world. But it’s only when I admit I don’t know it all that I can actually learn anything from these brilliant artists who surround me.
Death to perfectionism. It will be the end of us all!
Take risks… be alive and crazy… dream bigger.
I know I’m certainly trying.
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