We are now working with the seventh chapter of The Artist’s Way, which focuses on recovering a sense of connection. Last week, we began working with the section of the chapter that examines a big, big stumbling block for recovering artists – perfectionism.
Perfectionism just kills our creativity and is rooted in fear. Julia writes, “The perfectionist is never satisfied. The perfectionist never says, ‘This is pretty good. I think I’ll just keep going.’
“To the perfectionist there is always room for improvement. The perfectionist calls this humility. In reality, it is egotism. It is pride that make us want to write a perfect script, paint a perfect painting, perform a perfect audition monologue.
“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough.”
Can you see how it is, in fact, an attempt on our part to wrest away the controls from our Divine wild creative self, and impose our critical, nit-picky mind agenda instead?
Now let me quickly add that I have never been a big fan of the idea that there is a conflict between our heads and hearts. I have long felt this was a false assessment, an artificial dichotomy. Our head and heart simply do different things. To say they are struggling against each other in a given situation makes as much sense as saying our hands are trying to fight with our feet. So I am not suggesting that our creative self is pitted in some way against our logical analytical self. Ideally, they collaborate harmoniously, each knowing when it’s their turn.
Thus, while our art may eventually need an objective, skillful evaluation, it does not, should not, while we’re in the midst of creating it. The more we connect to Source in our work, the more our creative endeavors feel very much like we are being guided, that we are taking dictation, or that we are a conduit giving birth.
Why would we deliberately abort? How dare we interrupt that juicy flow? What payoff do we get for picking apart the work in progress, before it has even been birthed?
Julia answers this by asking:
Question: What would I do if I didn’t have to do it perfectly?
Answer: A great deal more than I am.
In other words, fiddling and fussing over the subtle nuances and the fine details midstream is basically procrastination and self-sabotage in disguise. More about this tomorrow!