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  • Writer's pictureSarah Koestner

Don't Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

Yesterday, while taking a drop-in art class I had an experience that I don't always have when I'm engaging in something creative: I was fully "in the zone." My instructor even commented: "You're on fire today." Painting after painting was flying out of me. I felt free and almost reckless - a very unfamiliar feeling for me.

Class started off with quick thirty-second figure drawings, then we worked our way up to one-minute, and then finally four minute sketches. Ever since the instructor told me not to go over the same line twice, I've really struggled with finding my freedom in figure drawing. But today I was completely free, and as a consequence, my line quality was much better. I felt completely unconcerned with what the teacher thought of my work and totally uninhibited. It was one of the most enjoyable creative experiences I've had in a long time.

Afterwards, I was reflecting on why this was such a pleasurable experience. This is how I always WANT to feel while creating, why do I often NOT feel that way?

I think this was so enjoyable because it was a drop-in class. Not a full course. Not a master's degree. Just a drop-in class. Therefore I felt no responsibility in getting it right or needing the teacher to like me. I was able to take it less seriously and just have fun with it. And I wasn't monitoring myself to make sure that I was improving.

If you practice at your chosen craft(s), you will improve over time. Worrying about whether or not you're getting better doesn't help you improve. It actually slows down your growth. Your intellect might think it's helping out, but it's actually slowing you down and making your creative process less fun. Ultimately there's truth to the simple adage that "practice makes perfect." Or rather, since there's no perfection in the world of creativity, "practice makes better."

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Create even though it won't be perfect. Create BECAUSE it won't be perfect. Create because you're spirit cries out that it needs to express itself. That is where the freedom is. That is where the joy is.

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