Perfectionism and Creativity

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“Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.”
- D. W. Winnicott

Lately, I’ve found myself in a bit of a creative rut (and by “lately,” I mean the past year or so).

Fear has a funny way of disguising itself as “perfectionism.” When trying different things when it came to photography or design, I would always find myself second-guessing my ideas. As a result, I would end up throwing most projects out the window. Sometimes, I would get to the point where I was almost finished with a personal project, but then I’d delete the entire thing because it wasn’t exactly as I had originally planned. Although we should always be trying to improve in our craft, the idea of perfectionism in art is actually a bit impossible. Let me let you guys in on a little secret – there’s no such thing as the “perfect” project. Because technology / your personal style is always evolving, there will always be an infinite number of tweaks you can make to an individual project. However, if you endlessly work on one project without ever completing it, are you really creating anything at all?

The three pictures at the top of this post were taken last night in a bit of an impromptu photo shoot (I’ve been making a habit of carrying my camera around with me when I leave the house). Since I usually only do my photo shoots outside in natural light, this mini shoot was way out of my comfort zone. Right after we took the photos, I imported them into my computer and started editing. As I started going through the pictures, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. However, I pushed past the doubts and finished editing the pictures. Although the pictures I took are definitely not my best work, I exported and uploaded them anyway. And guys – since last night, I’ve had so many new ideas for projects. After going for months without any kind of inspiration, it’s so refreshing to be able to fill up my notebook with new ideas.

If you’re in a creative rut – whether it be photography, design, writing, etc. – don’t be afraid to try something new. Even if the project you work on isn’t your best, it could spark a whole bunch of new ideas that you wouldn’t have even imagined beforehand.

I’ve set up a bit of a challenge for myself for July – I’m going to create something new every day. Whether it’s photography, design, blog stuff, or even music, I’m going to try my best to complete one small project on a daily basis. Want to join in on my little adventure? Leave a comment below and let me know! I’ll be posting weekly updates on my blog and I’d LOVE to see what you’re creating too!

Have a lovely week, friends. Go create something!

While you’re creating things, check out this weeks playlist.

Foggy Fields & Comfort Zones

Saturday night, I stayed with a couple of friends. As we drove into their neighborhood, we saw the moon. It was one of those nights where the moon was a fantastic reddish / orangish color. However, it was hard to see it because there were so many trees. In an effort to “chase the moon,” one of my friends suggested that we walk to the airport that was in their neighborhood. We went back and forth on the decision for a bit, but eventually decided to go on the walk despite the fact that we were all pretty exhausted. It took us a few minutes to walk to the airport. Although the neighborhood my friends live in is beautiful and full of trees, it was incredibly dark. When we turned down the last road that took us to the airport, I saw that it ended in a cul-de-sac, and the only way we could move forward was by walking through a dark, wooded area.

Now guys, I have to tell you something. I’ve had an irrational fear of snakes since I was a kid. Don’t even try to tell me the whole “they’re more scared of you than you are of them!” thing. I’m just not a fan. Because of this, the thought of walking on a pitch-black trail through the woods at night was kind of terrifying. What made it worse was that as soon as I took my first step and looked towards end of the trail, all I could see was this archway made of trees…and some super eerie fog. Basically, it felt like I was walking onto the set of a horror film. As we started walking down the trail, one of my friends turned to me and asked if I was okay. On the inside, I was screaming a bit and was incredibly out of my comfort zone, but I lied through my teeth and said “yep! great.” I probably wasn’t very convincing, but thankfully he didn’t ask again. Yes, I was scared out of my mind, but I had made it this far and there was no way I was turning around.

Even though the walk to the end of the trail lasted probably a total of 45 seconds, it seemed like it would never end. However, when we got to the end of the trail, it opened up into this gorgeous, fog-filled field. The moon was full and you could see silhouettes of trees / a random barn…and it was one of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen in my life. We just stood there for a while and let it all sink in. Sadly, I didn’t have my camera so I didn’t get any kind of pictures or video, but honestly, nothing could have accurately captured that much beauty. Eventually, we decided it was time to head home so we walked towards the trail again. I was seriously amazed at how short of a walk the trail really was. This thing that I had feared so much and thought would never end was not that big of a deal at all. The more I’ve thought about this the more I’ve realized that it’s kind of the way that I view different struggles and fears in everyday life.

When we set out on a new path, the road can seem long and treacherous. Even when we look towards the end of the path and think we know how things will be when we reach our destination, it turns out that we’re only seeing a small piece of the puzzle. Sometimes, it’s the things that look terrifying from a distance that are actually the most beautiful. Making a conscious decision to take steps out of your comfort zone is hard, but it’s so worth it. Fear can be crippling, but when you push past the anxiety and the uncertainty, you go farther than you could ever imagine.

Have a lovely week, friends.