This is one trait I actively work on from one day to the next. I write. I photograph. I weave a little bit (which is a hobby I’d like to expand on in the next year). I do some paper cutting. And when I’m feeling fun-ish, I am likely to be involved in some sort of crafting something or another. The last and quite successful crafty project I did was tube sock snowmen. What a fun craft night that was!
But I have a problem with my creativity that I feel makes me a little less than artistic. I am always much too concerned with getting it “right.” Replace the “it” with whatever project I’m currently involved with, but the “right” part? Well, that’s the conundrum. Who’s to say what’s right or wrong when it’s a pure product of my imagination? I suppose that would be me, but I usually feel like there’s some external judge looking over my shoulder saying things like, “Hmmm… That line could be cleaner.” Or “The angle of that photo is not quite right. Should have moved to the right three inches and knelt down on one knee.”
If I’m writing, those criticisms range anywhere from choosiness for what word is right, to whether I really need this comma or that one. Then there’s the structure of the story, not to mention how the story will unfold, etc., etc., etc. It’s all a bit ridiculous. I am a little bit ridiculous, to be particular about the issue. Right?
I know I’m not unique in this struggle for creativity vs. perfection. It’s the cause of writer’s block, yes? It causes some of the most creative people to freeze and keep their amazing work trapped in a notebook tucked away in the bottom of their sweater drawer. It causes heartbreak, misgivings and probably more than a sleepless night or two.
I recently visited a Picasso exhibit which may have cured me (fingers crossed!!) of this unreasonable need for perfection I have. In it was displayed a series of 18 lithographs Picasso created of the same subject “Two Nudes.” Each was dated and named State 1 through State 18. Although each was unique in its way, some were very similar, but the progression was obvious and moved from authentic depictions of two nude women, unusual for my idea of Picasso’s work, but then moved by the last few pieces to his more typical (is typical even a valid description of Pablo Picasso?) stylized vision of the human body.
I spent more time in front of that series than I did the entire rest of the exhibit. Picasso, this master of Modern creativity, was so playful in his work. Gazing from one to the next to the next made me realize that he was not concerned about getting it right as he was about getting it out, then moving on to the next piece.
So what if my next word isn’t quite right? So what if I didn’t get that dialogue perfect? Sometimes the imperfections add the special quirks I love most.
As a result of seeing that series of works by Picasso, I have started a series of my own. I am sticking to 18, like he did, but mine are 18 written pieces based on a single subject. It’s a fun little experiment. And if nothing else, it’s a creative endeavor. I’m not letting those judgey voices pop up inside my head, or whisper in my left ear as they stand over my shoulder or wherever it is those damn judges usually stand. I’m just not allowing it. So there.