Creative Mondays #040 – Mistakes

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Mistakes.  As an artist, you constantly strive to make your art as perfect as can be.  We want what we produce and release into the world to be free from any flaw or error.  This is a very noble cause and one you should strive for.  If you aren’t happy with something, do not release it just for the sake of releasing it.  Keep working on it until you get it to where you are happy with it.  NOTE:  You may never be happy with it, but we’ll talk about that at another time.

Striving for perfection is a great goal but you have to understand that, if you are like me, a piece of art you put out will never be 100% perfect. Striving  for perfection is fine but if you keep striving for it you may never release your art.  Working on one piece of art for the rest of your life chasing a certain Ideal may be fine for some but not for me. Did you know that Michaelangelo’s statue of David isn’t perfect. A flaw in the marble prevented Him from sculpting one of the muscles in Davids back. Instead of spending years trying to find a way to work around the flaw or get a new piece of marble and start over, he finished it, put it out in the world and then got busy working on something else.

When I listen to early episodes of Dr. Floyd I cringe and wish I could go back in and edit out mistakes. Tighten up the dialogue and pacing. But, as IV said on here before, the goal was to just keep making more episodes and in the course of producing over 150 episodes I learned how to tighten up the dialogue and pacing. And that’s why the later shows are cleaner. I made mistakes early on, learned form them, and used them to make the stuff I was creating better.

Mistakes you make while creating are, more likely than not, be extremely frustrating.  That’s fine.  The key is to learn what to take away from making that mistake and how the lessons learned there can help you improve your art.

You should never be so obsessed with never making mistakes that you don’t allow yourself to make them.  Why would you want to make mistakes?  Because sometimes those mistakes can make you look at your art differently and lead you to creating something even better than what you had originally started out to create.  Mistakes sometimes open doors that give you a new view of how to present something.  Or a way to change something to make it even better than you thought of before.  I cannot tell you how many times a fumble in dialogue while reading a line has lead to a new and even better line for the project. That’s not always the case but sometimes it is and if I was obsessed with getting every line down as exact as it is on the script I would never have stumbled upon something better.

The other note I want to make about mistakes is that you can’t be so afraid of making them that you don’t pursue the art that your heart is leading you towards.  If you want to sculpt (or paint, or write, or…whatever) and you are afraid to get going because you’ll make mistakes, you’ll never begin.  Learn now, mistakes are going to be made and you’re going to learn from them and become better because of them.

We are humans.  We are going to make mistakes.  That’s perfectly fine.  Be open to them.  See if there’s something you can learn from the mistake to improve the piece you are working on or the next piece.  See if there’s something about the mistake that makes the current piece even better than it was before.  See if the mistake leads you to something new that you didn’t even think of before.

Do you have an example of a mistake that blossomed into something better than what you had planned when you started out?  If so, tell me about it in the comments below.

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