A friend of mine has not directed a film in four years. We talked it through and we discovered he was discouraged by the thought of…
“What if the end result doesn’t match my vision?”
I could relate. I’m sure some of us have stopped putting out content completely when our work is not quite where we want it to be.
As creatives we want the results of our work to be exactly what we envisioned. And there’s a fear our perfect vision will shame us once it takes some physical or visual form outside our minds.
We Set Our Expectations Way Too High
I’ve spent weeks working on an illustration, ensuring all the lines are neat, colours are correctly shaded, lighting is realistic as it can be. All of these considerations plus more creates a perfect piece and perfect is what we aim for right?
To achieve perfect work is subjective to the creator.
What seems like a perfect illustration or product to you, someone else will find imperfect or weak. The worse, someone will hate it—it happens.
Instead of getting everything down to a T, just accept your work isn’t perfect and start putting out imperfect work. You only improve after each piece you complete, not by shutting it down and letting the work sit untouched.
Your skills will have improved years later, not tomorrow, but years.
A true example, your drawings as a kid unless you haven’t practiced, will have enormously improved since you first picked up a pencil. We would aggressively attack paper with crayon then we show our parents our creation with much excitement and maybe add a little dance.
What our past-self cared about was—we created something.
So why suddenly do we stop showing our work with less excitement?
Here’s where most of us fail:
You’re too concerned about your piece “being perfect” and caught up in the minute details that no one will care about.
We try to create a perfect product and that prevents us from sharing our work. Where will you be next week if you decide to not share your imperfect work today? Yep, exactly the same place.
Perfectionism Prevents Us From Growing
You want to grow faster? Knock out 20 drawings in a month and share the process of doing that. Limit your time on a piece and see what you can create in 30 minutes.
That’s why I say screw perfectionism. Because your idea of “perfect” is likely at a higher standard than another person. We put too much pressure on ourselves to reach 100% perfect when our 70%, 80% perfect is better than most people’s standards.
Your Work Is Not Supposed To Be Perfect
Focus on becoming better.
If being perfect is your concern, you will improve slowly, or not improve at all.
Switch your mindset from being perfect, to a growth mindset and just do things.
I’ve come to believe that perfectionism doesn’t exist. Being perfect simply doesn’t exist in my mind. Because let’s say you’ve found the “perfect” style of illustration—great! You’ll live wth that style for a while and if you're the type to love exploring and discovering new ideas, you’re going to inevitably improve and or even change your style completely.
Start something with the intent that it’s going to be bad.
Doing this will rid the fear of failing. Create, write, sing, draw. Realise perfectionism is only holding you back.
If perfectionism is holding you back, set a bench mark so you’re able to ship your work. Make that mark 70 or 80% perfect like I said before. Pick your creative weapon of choice and go.
I’ve created many pieces that are not perfect, if I look at my Instagram I actually cringe because I know I can do so much better right now. I wouldn’t have known how much I have improved had I not shared my work. Seeing progress is valuable.
Three Actions You Can Take Away Right Now
- Pay less attention to the outcome and laser focus on just getting started.
- Quality does matter, but to get quality you need to increase quantity of “crappy” work. Keep moving forward.
- Seeing how far you’ve come allows you to compare your progress, so share your progress and don’t let perfectionism paralyse you.