|Misty Trees, Watercolor, ©DeborahBollman, Sold|
Boy, that title just about says it all. I’ve just gone through that dreaded period in the life of a creative where the well feels like it had run dry. As a painter I had nothing..nada....zip.... there is nothing quite as intimidating as staring down a blank, glaring white sheet of paper when you have lost all inspiration.
Judging by my email I can say with assurance that this seems to be a fairly common thing among those of us who create... be it a painting a painting, writing a book or blog content, composing a song...
I’m going to be very transparent here. I was doing everything in by bag of tricks to avoid that sheet of paper that was staring accusingly back at me. I would “get” busy. If I’m busy, well, then I don’t have time to paint. There are too many other important things that need to get done!
I finally reached a point where the guilt from not painting got so bad that I had to take a step back and re-assess. I had to get to the bottom of things and I decided to work with a mindset coach to try and figure out why I was trying to avoid doing something that I loved and what I discovered wasn’t pretty.
One of the key insights that I learned is that it is not laziness or procrastination that was stopping me. It was...wait for it.... perfectionism. Yes, you heard that right. My artwork had gotten to the point where I was making good sales and had I put the pressure on myself to make every painting count. I no longer was painting for the fun of it anymore but for the market and a living.
The fear of “getting it wrong”, screwing up and the prospect of what if next thing I paint doesn’t even come close to being as good as the last thing that I painted was stopping me in my tracks.
I work in watercolor and those of you that know watercolor know that the odds of “getting it right” (whatever that actually means) every time is pretty slim to none. And that concept of possible failure was death to the perfectionistic ego that I was starting to become a slave to.
My coach said you simply have to “do it scared”. You can’t wait until everything aligns and the fear will magically go away. It just doesn’t work that way. Just do it scared. So I did. And you know what? It works. It feels really uncomfortable at first but I had to give myself permission to be imperfect. And guess what? The fun came back.. it led me back into the fun of seeing what the paint could do and pushing the envelope. And the bonus some of those paintings that I considered "mistakes" sold right off the easel.
An Even Bigger A-ha
And from this came an even bigger a-ha moment when I realized that we aren’t just talking about about perfectionism in just painting anymore.
We were talking about life.
How do you handle that blank paper, canvas...sheet of paper and perfectionism?
I'd love to know.
Leave your comments in the section below!