We have a saying in my family, “Nothing to it, but to do it.” It’s meant to be a motivator, a call to action, and can be applied in many different situations. When it comes to the craft of creating, however, sometimes that motivation of knowing that “it needs to be done, so get to it”, isn’t enough. Some of us want to wait for the perfect time or inspiration in order to begin. Others of us start, only to become frustrated with how our efforts are proceeding.

john cleese quoteIt can be hard to create (whether it’s visual arts like painting or photography, or writing poetry, or coming up with a few bars for a new song) if/when you wait for the perfect inspiration to hit you or if you keep revising something in the quest for the perfect color, the perfect frame, word or note, etc.

have-no-fear-of-perfection Salvador Dali

Perfection is an illusion, anyway. But there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to applying “perfection” to the creation of one’s art. Some people feel that seeking perfection can lead to trying harder and ending up with something as close as you can get to perfect.Vince Lombardi perfection

Others think that it can demoralize a person to the point of giving up (or not starting at all, which is worse).

perfection quote Margaret Atwood5154-if-you-look-for-perfection-youll-never-be-content Leo TolstoyBoth approaches have their merits, and while both points of view can lead to success, I think they take very different types of people to make them work. Some people work better under pressure than others. Some enjoy more of a challenge than others do.

Quotation-Oscar-Wilde-practice-perfectionWhich camp describes you? Does the search for perfection in your craft motivate you? Do you find that striving to reach your personal best leads to success in your creative endeavors? Or do you feel that all that pressure tends to backfire and leads to being paralyzed with inaction? Do revisions make you shudder? Do you “edit” as you go?

Regardless of which attitude toward “perfection” that you have, it’s important to realize that the true meaning of the word only belongs to the Divine. We may come close. In fact, finding peace and acceptance of ourselves as part of the Divine is necessary, realizing that we are perfect, exactly as we are. Can/Will you apply that same perspective to your art?

It may seem as if I am advocating the acceptance of ‘mediocrity’. I am not. By all means, aim for the moon, you may at least hit the stars! But also realize that everyone probably has a different idea of ‘perfection’, and, barring editors, publishers and the like, you have to be able to stop at a point in the creation and decide when it’s done, or when it’s “good enough”.

Quotation-Michelangelo-shadow-work-perfectionIn the end, the matter of whether our creation(s) have achieved “perfection” is completely up to us. Only the artist knows and can decide when something is done, and whether or not it’s done to the satisfaction of the creator. Remember: YOU, as the artist/creator are the only one you have to satisfy. Maybe in many cases, “good enough” IS perfect.  😉

Perfection-Quotes-Ring-the-bells-that-still-can-ring Leonard Cohen

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effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

16 thoughts on “Perfection and Creation

  1. So many truths here, Corina. Absolutely agree that the quest for perfection, whilst common amongst creative souls, is an impossible dream! Jamie expressed it well too: get it down on paper and then refine it. (Almost) perfect advice for creatives.

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  2. Jamie, Niamh –
    From my experience, if I’m understanding, you both are correct. I often edit-as-I-go and it is part of my creative process. However, if I am “editing” as a means to perfection than I create artistic roadblocks.

    My belief is that God is continually “editing” all his creations!

    GREAT POST!

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    1. Thank you, Gretchen! I think you raise a very important point – the reasons we all create may be vastly different, but if we are not enjoying the process, then it behooves us to stop and seek the reason why. I love your paintings, by the way – I really admire your skill with watercolors! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  3. Perfection & I have quite a history… I am a ‘recovering perfectionist’ who is trying to turn the ‘bail before you fail’ idea into ‘fail before you bail’. If I never allow myself the failure, I will never learn the wisdom.

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    1. Thanks, scilla. A ‘recovering perfectionist’ – Ha! I love it. I also like your idea of trying to live by the ‘fail before you bail’ credo. It can be tough to do; I wish you much luck with it! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting.

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    1. Thanks, Niamh. I edit as I go, too and I think you’re absolutely right that we all have a different way of creating…that’s one of the things I love about a community like this: I am always seeing different viewpoints and learning new perspectives. Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

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  4. All good and true, but “do you edit as you go” is a critical point and I’m happy to see you included it. We can’t “edit” and create at the same time. They’re two different jobs. If you try to edit as you go along, you end up with nothing. It’s like trying to mix dough for cookies and cleaning the bowl at the same time. Can’t be done.

    Do the thing and then refine. The real work is in the re-working. For some that’s where the real fun is too. Trust yourself to then know when the work is done to perfection/near perfection or when good-enough is good-enough.

    A wise and beautifully pulled together post, Corina. Thank you! 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Jamie. I had not thought of ‘editing as you go’ like eating the cookie dough, but I can see the truth in that. Like Niamh, I also edit as I go along, but it’s more of a refining process for me, too. Trusting myself to know when it’s done is the tricky bit for me, but we DO all create differently. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting. I am constantly learning different points of view and bits of wisdom from everyone here!

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