Being creative seems to me to be a bit like planting.  Some projects need a really specific situation with lots of preplanning and just the right combination of elements in the right order to make them flourish.  Some are set it and forget it, then need lavish care once they come into the light of day.  And others just get thrown out there on the surface.  There’s a lot of them, an expectation that only a fraction will make it, but some light and some water and TADA!!! projects sprout everywhere.  The one thing all of these have in common is that they are actions.  Something gets done and then there is a result or their isn’t.  But everything gets done in a way that gives the plant the maximum chance of succeeding.

Perfectionism seems like it’s doing that, but in fact is the opposite.  Perfectionism lies.  It says that perfect is achievable, that’s it’s preferrable and actually the only product with producing.  Perfectionism then sets impossible to reach goals which are constantly just out of reach and creates pressure that can make coal into diamonds and then reduce the diamonds back to dirt again.  This pressure freezes most creators in place therefore preventing them from ever creating anything.  Worse than that, it grinds down the creator’s sense of self.  You know, you can’t really be a creative person if you never create anything, are constantly in fear of failing to create anything, demand that all creative output be perfect, and therefore stop even wanting to create things.

Perfectionism is like planting too deep.  Like digging a 6 foot deep trench, putting grass seed at the bottom, then filling it in and expecting grass to grow.  No light, probably too much damp and not the right nutrients means that instead of grass you’ve just mulched more nutrients in the soil.  The seed is going to rot down, which is great, but not what you wanted. It’s great to create material for others to use, but each of us has a unique voice, a point of view, a gift that deserves to be seen and heard.  Perfectionism requires that we compare ourselves unfavorably with every other person, see how we are wanting, demand that we achieve what others have (or we perceive that they have) and when we fail, or even fail to try, demands that we acknowledge we are not a creator but instead are a failure, as we knew we would be.  Utter crap and ridiculousness!  Life is the antithesis of perfection.  The good stuff is in the mess, the attempts, the outrageously impossible which succeeds, the delightful failures that bring surprising new delights to light.  If perfectionism is crushing you from diamond into dust, start clawing your way out from under.  Reach up towards the surface.  There are plenty of hands to help you up.