Letting Go of Perfection with Creativity
Written January 18, 2022
I am testing the depths of my ability to connect to my intuition by doing one thing at a time and curating time to simply play.
Usually, creative time brings out my perfectionist tendencies. I want it to be exactly how I envisioned it, or be just right for the person I am making it for (even if that person is only me and I never intend to share it with the world!).
This month, I decided to step away from social media so I could be present with myself and simply play with creative ideas without expectation. I have been dropping the need to be productive & perfect with every little project. I even shut down my Etsy shoppe to get intentional for 2022 and prep products that I am excited about sharing! This has allowed me to simply be with my creative mind and ideas. There’s so much to explore in my daydreams.
Elizabeth Gilbert says it best in Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear when she writes:
We must understand the need for perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time, because nothing is ever beyond criticism. No matter how many hours you spend to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it.
Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
There are so many different ways I have been exploring these ideas and my relationship with creativity and perfectionism. As I lean in and learn more about my tendencies, I find new ways of letting them go so I can be connected to my intuition and source. It’s an ongoing process. Are you with me?
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I think a lot of creative processes tap into a combination of performance anxiety and the idea that we are not “enough.” For me, there’s a feeling of something never truly being done. My inner critic is constantly wondering, Could I have done more?
When I begin embracing the idea “Done is better than perfect” (thank you again, Elizabeth Gilbert), then I can let my creative juices flow more easily.
When I let the channels open and simply surrender, something beautiful can happen.
The thing is, my mind is constantly daydreaming about creative ideas. Concepts for a product, poem verses that come to me like a wave crashing over me, digital images I’d like to make, a new recipe I’d like to try. This daydreaming is a beautiful place to get lost.
Here are some ways I’ve been playing with creativity:
Baking Sourdough Bread
Creativity can be sticky. It can also require being very precise… and very patient. For Christmas, I got Justin a Sourdough Starter Kit. We started growing our sourdough starter, which took about 10 days. There was one night we almost gave up on starter, which we named Herculyeast. We took him out of his mason jar home to clean it a bit (the dough was sticky all over and making a mess!!). Once we took him out, put him in his little measuring cup between feedings, we realized how silly this step was. Our little gesture of kindness towards Herculyeast took over 45 minutes. We almost gave up then. We kept asking, “Is all this work worth it?!”
Yet, we kept going. Justin is incredible at doing research for cooking, plus he had his trusted guidance from Joshua Weissman’s cookbook. After our starter was ready to bake, we did the two-day process of baking the bread. Made the levain & autolyze, bulk fermented for HOURS, and the baked two loaves (spawns of Herculyeast) the next day!
Our research continues to fine tune our process, but we MADE BREAD!!!! Is it perfect? Nope. Is it done and edible? YOU BETCHA!!!
Items in our Sourdough kit:
The moral of the story here: Be patient while enjoying the process.
My family got me a Cricut Maker for Christmas! I started playing with all the things I can make on the Cricut… which is pretty endless, to be honest!
The infinite possibilities pose a challenge to my daydreaming mind, as I can put a little extra “pressure” for production on myself. I got a pack of onesies because I came up with some fun iron-on designs for babies. I literally could not wait to see what the end product would look like, so I worked on my design on Photoshop for a while… until it was “perfect” (like was literally editing text with the eraser lol)… then used the Cricut Everyday Iron On Vinyl to cut the design… then purchased a 5-pack of onesies from my fav local Target… and proceeded to throw the onesies in with my wash.
I could not WAIT to make them! When I removed the onesies from the wash though, I feasted my eyes on an unpleasant sign.
The 5-pack of onesies came out stained. Like, very stained. I guess washing white onesies with red dyes is not a good idea?? I researched how to get out the dye and most sources say bleach, but this goes against my value of sustainable & eco-friendly & harmless chemicals in items that I sell. I ain’t about to bleach the onesies I’ll sell.
So, I must again practice patience and will not get to see the end product of this playful exploration just yet.
The moral of the story here: It’s okay if you don’t have something to show for your playfulness.
One way I have found ease in connecting with my creative intuition is through drawing mandalas. I start of with a rough outline/circular grid with a whole lot of lines, then I just start filling in the details. I don’t go into it with any play at all. I don’t even know if I’ll color it in with pen, pencil, color, or black and white. When I first started drawing mandalas, I was following a template. I would look for a source of inspiration, then try to create something I had in mind.
Now, every time I sit down, I have a new experience.
Sometimes, I do not finish a mandala in one sitting. When I revisit it later, something different comes to be.
It’s such a beautiful process. So freeing.
I drop the expectations and I find freedom and love.
To quote Elizabeth Gilbert once more, this is the “quiet glory of merely making things.”
Perhaps all the things I make will be shared.
When I do, I will share “with an open heart an no expectations.”
The moral of the story here: Create just for the sake of creating without expectation by following your creative intuition.
Journaling Prompt or Share Below:
How do you connect to our creativity? Does perfectionism block or enhance your creative process? If you were to create without expectation, what would you make? How do you feel when you create?