Saturday, April 30, 2011

Creativity Killer #2 - Perfectionism

Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it - Salvador Dali

I don't know much about Salvador Dali.  I do know he painted amazingly unique pictures, one of which I bought as a print when I was in high school.  I loved to stare at the picture and imagine what happened to that painted world, how Dali had come up with the idea, what it would be like to be transported into the picture.  My own imagination fed off of his creative freedom.

Perfectionism as a creativity killer is tough to describe.  Of course we have to have standards for our work, whatever that work might be.  When we toil in our jobs, we have certain performance levels we have to meet. As parents, we have certain responsibilities to our offspring to make sure they get the nurturing, care and love they need to grow into healthy, stable individuals.  When we write stories, there is a certain level of skill that must be achieved to keep a reader engaged and produce a well-told story.

The problem arises when we forget that there are many, many ways to reach a goal, to tell a story, to be human.  We get stuck trying to get it "right."  But what is right in one situation (or for one person), may not be right in the next.  If we don't allow ourselves the possibility of "mistakes", then we get mired in fear and close off the part of ourselves that makes us, and therefore our work, unique.  Instead of gaining perfection, we achieve conformity.

Let's celebrate flaws and differences.  How boring the world would be if we were all perfect.  There would only be one story to write, one way.  Only one character who would always react in the "right" way.  Life is messy and beautiful and exciting when we stop trying to be perfect, and instead try to be the best we can be.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Let's Play!

I am feeling entirely too serious.  Work is serious, blogging is serious, writing is serious...blech.  I know I have a tendency to let the weight of the world get me down, and I have found the best solution is to play.  So, today, I'm inviting you to play with words!

I have added to my blog list the website to Six-Word Memoirs, and I have heard of six-word stories.  So, if anybody reading this would like to come up with your own six word story, and wants to share, feel free to post it in the comments section.  

My story is:
Work completed,
Job well-done,
Entering Margaritaville.

Okay, so I may have cheated with well-done, but you get the idea.  Hope you have a fun-filled week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Perseverance or Stubbornness?

No quote today.  I'm musing over the difference, if any, between perseverance and stubbornness.  I believe, and have the support of many a successful individual, that perseverance is a HUGE portion of reaching goals and achieving dreams.  You don't do the work, you won't have the payoff.  It's that easy.  Quitting is failure, period.

But stubbornness....  It's the part of us that wants to flip the bird at those people who say we can't achieve our dreams.  It's the part of us that says "I'll show them," when we feel ignored and overlooked.  It's the pursing of lips and the drawing deep within to succeed, no matter what other people may or may not say or do.  Stubbornness is perseverance with attitude.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Creativity Killers

"The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."  Sylvia Plath

I have noticed a peculiar habit.  In the moments prior to clicking the send button to submit a new story to a magazine, I feel like the story is well-written, creative like no other.  The instant the mouse makes the click noise, I am convinced that the story is crap, boring and no one would ever want to buy/publish it.  Self-doubt at work.

I have spent a life trying to overcome the crippling effects of self-doubt.  As a drummer, I would crash and burn on drum solos.  As an actress, I'd forget lines.  I have seen first hand that self-doubt truly is a creativity killer.  The difference in the here and now is that I'm older, and I recognize that to be creative, a person has to flow.  And trusting the flow involves a certain amount of risk.  Scary, but necessary.

I've experienced the absolute power of drumming a solo that knocked people's socks off.  I have had a whole audience laugh at the right time, because of the delivery of my lines.  I know I can do it.  I just need to ignore the loud banging of fear and listen only to the still, small voice that says, "Yes, you can."


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