Tag: happyaccidents

Perfectionism

As I mentioned last week, sometimes I have a hard time with perfectionism. Today’s post includes many of my imperfect drawings. A lot of the time, right after I write or draw or paint something, I feel like it wasn’t very good. It’s easy to see all the mistakes and want to just throw it away and pretend it never happened.

Cross hatching in grass wrong. Tenniel from Annotated Alice p.26 1-5-18

Giving it a few days usually changes my mind, and the mistakes seem less obvious or critical.

Her head is too big. redo? 1-9-18, Tenniel, Annotated Alice, p. 31
Well, it’s a little better, 1-10-18

Sometimes, I’ll write or draw or paint something and I’ll feel pleased with it right away. By some happy accident, it will turn out better than I expected. Did I do that? I feel a sense of wonder. Sometimes, weeks later I’ll return to these happy accidents and they aren’t as good as I remember. That feels rather like being crushed. Ouch.

Arms too close to face. Argh.
There. Not as careful, but her proportions & spacing are better. 1-4-18

Sometimes, years later, I’ll read something I wrote and it is funny or interesting and surprises me. Wow. I did that? Maybe I’m better than I thought. Am I still that good?

What can you do if you feel like you have no way to objectively judge your own work? Especially when you really want it all to be perfect but never feel it quite hits the mark?

Gesture drawings of people around the neighborhood.
I do them very fast to practice embracing imperfection.

My solution is to keep moving forward, trying to finish things, even when there are terrible mistakes, and it feels like I should just abandon the whole thing. I try to be consistent with my practicing, even when I feel discouraged and want to abandon it all.

head at wrong angle. Rt. arm too high.
Tenniel’s “Annotated Alice” p. 58, 1-23-18

You’ll have fun if you just start, I tell myself. And afterwards you can have a peanut butter sandwich. And call your mom. And maybe you can take a nap.

(I always promise myself naps. I never take them. Someone I admire recommends twelve-minute naps to increase productivity. Maybe I’ll try one after I write this. I told myself I could. Maybe.)

So, that’s what works for me. Any suggestions from other perfectionists? Anyone know any good rewards that aren’t related to food? I eat too many peanut butter sandwiches.

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