May 4, 2010

Mistakes have been Made

All over the place today, I've seen blogs and status updates and news articles about making mistakes.  I don't know if it's because I'm open to that concept today or if it is just a coincidence that there is so much talk about mistakes, but when I begin to see patterns in things I read or hear about, I like to find out what the Universe is trying to tell me.

Here are the "mistake" ideas I heard today - first up is this status update from my friend David:

"Perfection is a poisonous myth that disguises itself as candy. Don't eat it. Don't believe it. Don't be a slave to it."

Now there's an idea that I can adopt for my own.  I've never been a perfectionist - far from, in fact; but I can't stand it when something I'm working on (mainly my art, my cooking, or my computer) isn't working right (okay, maybe I AM a perfectionist).

I subscribe to the Etsy feed in my e-mail, which serves up wonderful advice about sales and marketing for those like me who have an Etsy shop, and this is what is said today:

"There's an old proverb that goes, 'If you don't make mistakes, you don't make anything.' We all make mistakes...."

Isn't that a lovely sentiment?  Basically, it's saying that we all make mistakes every day and they're just part of the creating (and creative) process.  It certainly is true; I do make "mistakes" every day in my art.  But the great thing about being a collage/mixed media artist is that there's this thing called glue.  And when a collage element isn't working, you take this "glue" and paste something over the offending item.  It's like magic.  But that's not to say it isn't also quite frustrating when the work in progress isn't cooperating.

I tend to make the most mistakes when I try to rush through something.  I love taking my time with my artwork but when I feel a deadline looming, I tend to get really stressed and invariably that's when things go south.  This is around the time my potty mouth gets the best of me, too - I start dropping the Effingheimers left and right (GASP!).  It'll never be as bad as when I worked in the television industry, but I still try to not swear on a daily basis.

What I really should do is practice what I preach.  One of the most wonderful parts of my art career is teaching workshops.  And a HUGE part of these workshops is making sure that my "students" are made abundantly aware that in making art, there are no mistakes.  Really.   So why am I any different?  What makes me so gosh darn special?

Of course, the whole idea of making a mistake is rooted in fear - fear of getting fired, fear of losing one's admiration or trust, or just the fear of "not being good enough".  And for sure, there are some mistakes out there that are MAJOR (BP, I'm looking in your direction).  But let's be honest - most of us do not commit grievances of an enormous degree very often.  It may seem like a big deal at the time, but more often than not what we think is going to be life-altering just turns out to be a minor upset.  What's more important is that we don't repeat these mistakes.  And maybe be a little easier on ourselves, okay?  :D


  1. "Dropping the Effingheimers?" That is hilarious!! And my new favorite expression.

  2. Ha ha - thanks Dave! :D I wish I could take credit for it, but I heard my sister say it and I too thought it was hootful. Let's make it the new catchphrase that's sweeping the nation! :D