At Times, a Little Messy
Sometimes, we are so worried about perfecting the final product that we never get started. Ask any writer, artist, chef, YouTuber, or other content creator what the key was to their success, and they will most likely tell you that failure and crappy beginnings are the bedrock of their talent. It is important to make the bad things so you can learn to make the good things.
When I share my blog posts, sketches, or my amateur videos, I am aware they could be better. There are clumsy edits, unintelligible lines, and goofy proportions, but I share them anyway as a way to force myself to move on. Keeping the rough stuff hidden, and quietly agonizing over my flaws impedes my progress, and feeds my anxiety that I will never measure up.
I ache to make. Even as I'm writing this, I'm thinking about the paintings I could be doing, the table I could be refinishing, the weeds I could be pulling, the laundry I could be folding... (jokes, that laundry is going nowhere!). I am baffled by the people who seem to be constantly occupied and flawless in their presentation. I think quality is important, but mess can be endearing.
When it comes to products that people pay for (an online course, a catered meal, wedding invitations), then quality control is obviously important. Being thorough at the beginning will prevent oneself from having to redo work later, and lends the creator credibility. But the free stuff benefits from a little authenticity.
As a teacher and as an artist, it can be easy to hide my mistakes and never try to take risks. But I don't. I own up when I screw up, and hopefully my students will too. Failure on a public stage is painful, but if you fail publicly when the stakes are low, take the feedback you get and apply it to bigger and better things, then perhaps your successes will eclipse the failures that came before.
That's all I've got this week. Check back next week for something a little bit more coherent.
6/17/2015 10:17:49 am
like you, "ache to make," and I'm baffled by the people who seem to not know what to do with themselves, who can't identify any passion. I seem to have so many passions that I'm frustrated I can't seem to make the time to pursue them all! definitely letting go of that idea of perfection helps open up time and energy to explore more!
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12/3/2022 03:11:16 am
Thankks great post
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The day-to-days of an Itinerant Illustrator