Perfectionism is a sneaky, underhanded destroyer of creativity. A powerful energy suck.
Now, I can hear all you creative people out in Creative Land shouting: "I know all about the pitfalls of perfectionism! I've read the articles! I don't do that anymore. I'm perfect at not doing that anymore!"
Re-read my last exclamation. That's why I called perfectionism sneaky and underhanded. Even if we recognize how attempting to be perfect in any endeavor leads to frustration and failure, still we struggle. An example? I just rewrote the last sentence five times. In a first draft.
If you're an artist, do you find yourself starting a project over again before you finish? As a dancer do you find yourself practicing a step even after you know you're doing it "well enough" to move on? For a musician, do you get stuck on a piece?
And of course, for myself as an author, I rewrite and rewrite before I finish the draft.
Why? Why does this happen?
The simple answer: perfectionism sneaking in, that little monster.
For one simple reason: creative people want to be the best ever with their creations.
That's a good and powerful thing. That is to be commended. Celebrated. We work at our craft. We know we must try and try again to improve our craft.
Except. Except. Perfectionism rears its ugly, ugly head--as in, look, a cliche! In writers, it crawls in under the guise of the all-powerful editor. "That's an awkward sentence..," the editor whispers.
So, what to do?
One trick: recognize and gently, gently escort the critic out of your mind. Recognize that the impulse to perfectionism is only the impulse to improve--gone a little wild. Accept the gift of the impulse without giving in to it.
When you catch yourself in perfectionism mode, work to not beat yourself up about it. Instead see the steps above and exercises below.
1. Keep a list of what sets you off into perfectionism. Jot down when it happens. Are you tired? Are you trying to force the work? Is it a new work? An old one you haven't been able to finish? Don't try to change/fix/judge the list as in "I'll finish the old work or die trying!" Just observe.
2. When perfectionism is whispering or even shouting, answer it, gently, with reasons. "Yes, that is an awkward sentence. They happen. I'm not perfect." And then move on.
3. OR: shout at it, argue with it, be totally ridiculous with it. "I love my awkward sentences! They're perfect!"
3. If the perfectionism blocks you completely, it's okay to let it win, for that moment. Switch projects. Go play on another project. Take a total break and walk away.
Now for some FREEBIE fun! Through Thursday, June 22, 2017, Mild West Mysteries: 13 Idaho Tales of Murder and Mayhem is FREE! Enjoy!
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Saturday, May 20, 2017
FOR GAIN, NO BLAME
This post is about a problem that has been bugging me for, well, forever. In this world of social media, it appears to be growing every day, a monstrous cancer destroying creativity.
Okay, maybe not that bad. Except...when we blame ourselves, it destroys our creativity.
I'm not talking about refusing to take responsibility for our own personal stumbles as in "I drank too much today to create." Also, there are tons of helpful advice available I'm talking about the insidious, continual "blame game" that some "experts" use to sell their books, podcasts, seminars, classes online and off, even life coaching.
The blame game goes like this (for writing, I'm sure it's similar for other types of creativity):
Your published writing isn't selling? Then you must be blamed because:
Your cover isn't good enough. (Buy this and we'll show you how to have a great cover!)
Your content isn't good enough. (Let us show you how, buy this!)
Your social media marketing isn't good enough. (buy...)
To be more specific:
You don't have a good enough website. (On sale now! How to have a great website!)
You don't have a good enough email list. (Buy now! Learn how to have a great email list!)
You don't have a platform. (Pay here!)
You don't have a brand.
You're not tweeting enough.
You're not posting enough on Facebook.
You're not doing enough ads on social-media-site.
You're not posting enough and/or posting correctly on your website.
And one more example: You're not posting on your blog enough!
Or even the dreaded shoulds:
You should be only traditionally published.
You should be only self-published.
You should be a hybrid author.
Then there's the more insidious blaming:
You have to do the newest online-whatever right now to sell, whatever it is.
You have to spend a certain amount of time every day selling.
You have to not spend too much time selling. Instead spend your time creating more and more, as quickly as possible. Make sure your creations are fabulous.
You have to be exactly like the successful people that are used as examples.
Can you feel your will to create evaporating? Depression setting in? Blaming sucks the life energy out of our creativity.
Add to all of this one DIRTY ENORMOUS SECRET:
Most creative people are not successful at selling their creations.
Most books don't sell. Most actors don't have a big career. Most artists never sell their paintings/sculptures/art. Most bands never make it big. It doesn't matter if you're a jewelry designer or a singer or a clay-embedded-fingernails potter, chances are you won't "make it big and make tons of money."
Does this mean never take a class or read a book about selling your work? No, of course not! Many books, videos, podcasts, classes, etc. are very useful for tips and ways to sell. Ideas that may save you time and money. My only caveat: avoid blame! Realize and remember that you are doing the work. If you're not...give yourself a break. You're only human.
Make your creative life a no-blame zone and discover energy, time and inspiration!
Friday, January 6, 2017
Mild West Mysteries on SALE 3 days only! .99! Audio out too! And a GF, dairy free, egg free easy recipe!
In honor of the release of the audio book version of Mild West Mysteries, the eBook version is on sale, only .99, through January 8th!
Woot! Now Mild West Mysteries is out in all formats! Enjoy!
And here are some cookies to munch on while you read/listen to Mild West Mysteries. These are gluten, dairy and egg free!
EASY QUICK CAKE COOKIES (mildly sweet and nutty)
1 cup cashew, almond or peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup oatmeal flour + 1/2 cup oatmeal flour
1/4 cup potato starch
3 teaspoons Xanthum gum
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Vegan Egg in 1/3 cup cold water
Nutmeg and/or cinnamon to sprinkle on top
Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, potato starch, sugar and Xanthum gum together. Add liquids and stir well. Dough will be stiff. Roll into balls and press on cookie sheet until 1 to 1/2 inch depth. Sprinkle with nutmeg and/or cinnamon. Bake 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness of cookies (thinner cookies will be crunchier, thicker more cake like). Flip cookies half way through baking. Cookies should be lightly brown both sides.
Again, enjoy! And pick up your on sale copy of Mild West Mysteries, just .99 through January 8th.