I can’t believe its been 9 months since my last post. There are two reasons for that. The first reason I won’t go into as it is depressing and dark and not at all interesting. I know, depressing and dark is almost always interesting, but in some cases it is also just predictable and boring. Besides, the second reason is a little bit better.
I’ve been busy. Busy is, of course, always a good thing. Busy with life and busy with business.
Well, maybe I should elaborate a little on the first reason, otherwise I may have to come up with another title and angle for this post and frankly I don’t have the mental energy for that. I’ll leave out the years of psychoanalysis and relentless (somewhat narcissistic) self-analysis and get to the point: I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I think I’ve mentioned that before. Now, if you know me, have been to my house, or just peeked around any of my social media sites and have picked up all the glaring typos, you may be thinking “A perfectionist? Really?”
It’s true, though I’m not one of those perfectionists whose need for perfection has worked to my great advantage in life. You know those types who are always well put together, live in pristine homes or are wildly successful? Or those designer types with exquisite attention to detail with the skill set and patience to bring an idea to such a high level of perfection they are known as innovators in their fields? Yeah, I’m not that kind of perfectionist. I’m more or less the kind who becomes so overwhelmed at the idea of failing that I can’t try at all. Yes, I meant can’t. In short, I am a typical under achiever. Of course, there are other reasons for my lack of success, which according to the rules of psychoanalysis are all my mother’s fault, but over all I’m pretty sure it’s my desire to be perfect that is the root cause of all my failures. Or lack of success, since failing means you actually have to try.
Let me just get one thing straight right now – for the sake of this post, I am only talking business and my experiences in working for myself and my experiences in trying to figure out what that means. In all other aspects of my life, I’m perfect. (just seeing if you’re paying attention)
Now ,here is the funny thing. It took me so long to write this post (I’ve omitted several paragraphs) that I decided delete a good chunk of it and post without all the elaborate, frivolous details; just to prove that sometimes done has to be better than good. But I now have ideas for future posts, so all that writing wasn’t a complete loss. After much editing, here is the best I can do today. I’ve come up with just two points (maybe three, you decide and let me know).
This morning I spent so much time fretting over my new Etsy listings being absolutely perfect, I almost decided to shut down my whole shop. What difference does it make? I asked myself, My shop has been closed more than it has been opened. One reason for that was due to building inventory for shows, but honestly it was due to my absolute unrealistic fear of publicly posting anything less than perfection. I can’t tell you how many times I have logged into Etsy, eager to revamp and reopen, only to be so discouraged by every single imperfection in my photos that I’d just decide to keep my shop on vacation. Then there was the pressure of writing the most enticing, entertaining product descriptions. I simply go blank when I see that white space staring at me. One thing became (once again) blatantly clear to me: I need to get over it. So I told myself “something is better than nothing”, gave up on anything close to perfection, hit that publish button and got over it.
Point 1 – I’m over it. ( really, I am…. )
Then I headed over here, knowing how long its been since my last post, feeling the shame and the pressure of it all. I was excited about “getting over it “and wanted to share that liberating feeling with you and offer you encouragement and advice and inspiration(!).
But as it turns out I have so much to say on the topic of “good enough” “done is better than undone” “something is better than nothing” that I went off on so many angles and tangents I became overwhelmed with finding the most perfect way to let you know you don’t have to be perfect. I started thinking ” what difference does it make? It’s been months since I posted, why bother now?” Then I remembered a promise I made to my blog, which brings me to the second point.
Point 2 – this might be as good as it gets.
I started blogging a little over 5 years ago. I promised myself I would make a commitment to keeping my blog alive. I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. Forever? Maybe. As long as I live? Possibly. My absence here lately has been weighing on me. I’ve felt the need to write something, but well, there is point number one which I wont go into. I thought announcing the reopening of my Etsy store would be a good way to restart and as I started to write about my struggle with perfectionism I remembered that promise I made a few years ago. As I searched through past posts, I found it quite entertaining that today is the actual to-the-date 5 year anniversary of the promise to my blog. The promise to never let it die a slow death, to just do my best and not worry about being perfect.
And so I face the harsh reality of point number 2. This truly is all there is in life. This is me. This is as good as it gets. Sad.
But I can’t leave you with that, what kind of person would I be to leave you with such a dismal fact of life? A realist, true, but a realist who is not willing to force sad reality on others.
So instead I will leave you with this: I’ve been working lately with new ideas and trying to find my “thing”. For now, the main support for any medium I choose is still an Altoids tin. It seems so weird and silly, but by keeping this one constant thing in my art, I’ve discovered I really thoroughly enjoy working in small-scale, regardless of the medium, and I also enjoy creating with paper, regardless of scale. Here are a couple of pieces I made and sold recently. I WILL NOT talk about their imperfections and I’m happy to be sharing them here with you today.
And now, to just hit that publish button and breath. Ahhhhhhh it feels pretty good to be back in the blogosphere.
Are there times when you’ve had to completely let go of perfection and just settle for good enough? How did that work for you? I look forward to hearing your stories and advice.