Editor’s note: This is the 8th installment of a weekly 13-part series. If you would like to join Jessica on her journey, we suggest getting hold of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity or checking out Cameron’s online video course. Best of luck!
Art is messy. It comes from a place within that is the most raw, emotional core of us. I’ve always thought that a certain degree of self-awareness is important in art and life – the ability to hold oneself to a standard of excellence in all things – but lately I’m learning to soften my approach to myself, others and my work.
Recently, I was jotting down a to-do list with regard to my artistic endeavors and when it came to placing precedence on either re-writing an episode of a web series I’m working on, or moving ahead to write the next episode, I was stuck: “That joke doesn’t work anymore,” or “I shouldn’t use that character in this,” or “Maybe I need to scrap the whole premise and start over,” ad nauseam.. When one comes to the crossroads of “perfecting” what’s been done or moving forward, the answer is always to move forward. Why? Because nothing will ever be “perfect.” The act of perfecting straps one up to an endless, unwinnable loop of “should I or shouldn’t I?”
As Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way Week 7: Recovering a Sense of Connection, “Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves; the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try again.”
Do have standards, do use “best” practices if possible, but don’t let it stop the process of creation. Sometimes the “art” is in learning to let go. I can’t even count how many half-finished or partially-completed stories, poems and projects I have lining my shelves and taking space in boxes. The creative side of my brain has long been married to my logic and I am trying to get them divorced. Thankfully, The Artist’s Way is a great mediator.
Once we lose the notion that everything we create must be “perfect,” we begin taking risks. We begin to share. We begin to realize that art isn’t coming from either of our cerebral hemispheres anyway; it’s coming from that invisible place within. We are just the vessels to give it light and a name.
Has The Artist’s Way encouraged you to take risks this week? If so, please share and help encourage others.
Read the first seven installments of this series:
- Unblocking the Inner Artist
- Of Monsters and Champions: Let the affirming begin!
- A Case of the Crazymakers
- The Power of Breaking Down Boxes
- The Flow of Letting Go
- The Trouble with Being “Good”
- The Joy of Living Luxuriously