Friday, April 8, 2011

Perfectionism and Creativity

I have struggled a great deal lately finding value in the creative work I'm doing. I have prayerfully considered giving up scrapbooking and photography altogether for a time, but I don't think that is necessary or even right. It felt like trying to force a break-up with someone I knew I loved! I'm not going to run away from my creative pursuits, but I am willing to shift my focus in order to find peace. 
I reached a breaking point a few weeks ago where it became clear that in order to restore my creative spirit, it was essential to step back and evaluate myself, and the motivation behind my creative endevors. In discussing these concerns with fellow artists, and tuning into numerous blogs in the scrapbooking and design industry, I think I am not alone in my conflicted feelings. It seems many of us are silently dissatistied with our own creative contributions.
I have always had an innate need to express myself creatively--whether it be through drawing, photography, scrapbooking, or other forms of crafting. So why the frustration lately? Where did the joy go? I'm on a journey to understand. My creative soul must be restored, and despite the temptation to sign up for trendy (and expensive) retreats with claims of reawakening creativity, I feel it is something only I can do. 
Danny and I took a little trip to the bookstore the other night and I picked up a remarkable book called The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. I had previously seen it recommended on the well known scrapbooker Ali Edward's blog. I've read the book this week, and coupled with loads of inspiration from the recent LDS General Conference and Young Women meeting, I've made a few observations: 
1. I look to other scrapbooking and design blogs for inspiration, but this can become dangerously addictive and dissatisfying. While I know the truth of my own blog posts, I only see the appearance of perfection among blogs I follow. PERFECT PAGES. PERFECT PHOTOS. PERFECT LIVES. How could I ever measure up to that?
2. Having worked as a professional scrapbooker under the coorporate name, I felt invisible and sought recognition and praise for the work I did. In setting out on my own, I haven't yet had any submissions accepted, and now feel even less visible... and unfortunately, less valuable. Like it or not, I've connected public praise with personal value.
3. Shame. With a quest for humility, authenticity, and a sure knowledge of my divine worth, seeking for recognition and belonging among said blogs/bloggers comes with feelings of shame and embarrassment. Why do I desire worldly success when I KNOW what really matters most?
So there you have it. Pefectionism, pride, and shame (in a nutshell)... a perfect recipe for dissatisfaction and emotional distress. It's no wonder my creative spirit and emotional stamina have been in peril. My spiritual self knows better, but the fight against the natural man is real and daunting. This post is vulernable, yet in addressing these concerns I hope to find peace.
I'm excited to share some of the insights I've been learning here, even/especially if the only "value" that comes from it is my own personal growth. That is enough for me. Along with photos, creative work, and the stories I tell...I want to share my honest journey in the fight against perfectionism, and the things I am learning about myself along the way.
With Hope,

1 comment:

Whitney said...

Lynley this is SO SO SO good! I agree with every word. I am so grateful for your insights. Thanks for being my example and my friend!