Creativity Tips for Perfectionists 

Close up crop of a simple landscape painting on new gold speckle paper. We are preparing some cut sheets for sale starting Friday 5/22

 

This is a personal subject for me as I am a self admitted perfectionist particularly when it comes to creative projects. It took me a long time to realize how to make this tendency an asset and to avoid being stifled by my perfectionism. Here are some tips that may help you channel perfectionist tendencies in a positive way.

  • Creativity is like building a fire. In the early stage you are just looking for a spark. Then you are nurturing small embers. Only after the fire is strong, will it be impervious to criticism. Avoid being too critical too early in a creative process. Keep it light and fun until you really get a fire going!
  • Perfection is a process. It is rarely the flash in a pan of brilliance that many of us hold up as the ideal. The most important thing as a creative person is to engage in the creative process and persist until you finish something. Do this enough and you will have a process that you can trust to produce things that you can be proud of.
  • Think about cause and effect rather than right or wrong. So much stress can be avoided if you think about things in terms of cause and effect rather than right or wrong. Rules and structure are useful at the beginning yet if you ask master artists, most learned rules and eventually broke them on their way to achieving brilliance.
  • Perfectionism is a taste level. Taste is incredibly important to a creative person. The trick is to be patient and persistent until you build the skill level to achieve the perfection that you desire. When you are new at something, there will be inevitable frustration. Your taste travels with you to a new genre of creativity and demands that you produce beyond your initial ability. Persist long enough to allow your taste to become an asset.
  • Perfection is relative. No two people can agree on what perfection is. It is personal and relative to a particular person at a particular moment in time. As you grow your idea of perfection evolves. It is best to think of perfection as moments of satisfaction achieved through a lifetime pursuit of constant and never ending improvement.
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