The Magic of Making Mistakes

magic creative process

Bad things that mean nothing.

I loved this video (embedded below) by New Yorker Magazine about Liana Finck. Not only did it make me miss New York, but the part were she takes two hours to create bad drawings really stood out for me.

Lately I’ve been seeing (in myself and others) an all or nothing mindset when it comes to creativity, and life choices in general. Like we have to do things perfectly the first go-around or it’s a waste of time. We often forget how important process is. And mistakes are part of the process.

Doing things terribly. Trying things out. Having to make changes. Losing investments. Looking foolish. Not getting the results we were hoping for. Things not working out. Failure to meet expectations. Feeling silly. Experiencing regret. Of course all of that is hard to accept. But how will you grow and evolve if you aren’t willing to be uncomfortable?

I’ve mentioned this before, but I erased an entire website that I created because ONE PERSON (that I respected) criticized it. I felt like I had failed and I deleted the whole thing. Which was not a good idea. I really wish that I could have let that work live and allowed myself to be vulnerable and publicly (or even privately) evolve. I wish that I wasn’t so hasty and reactive, and would have accepted the creative process and continued to explore ideas without the self-imposed pressure of having to be perfect.

Another example is in my personal life. I left New York and moved to North Carolina, then Oregon, then California. All of those moves were a huge risk that came with a hefty price. I invested so much time, money and effort. It was emotionally, mentally and physically super-taxing.

Looking back, the loud voice in me says, “Oh f*ck! What did you do? Ugh. What a loss.” But there is a softer, wiser, all-seeing voice that whispers, “What if those mistakes were exactly what you needed for your highest evolution? What if they lead to something amazing, beyond your current understanding? Everything is fine. Keep going. Don’t be afraid to get banged up a little.”

Just like any vehicle, this body is not forever. My life is my greatest adventure and greatest work of art. I don’t want to waste it by playing safe. I have to remind myself of that, over and over. I constantly need reminders.

I’m so grateful for the experiences I had this week that reinforced the idea that stepping into the Unknown is worth it. Looking silly is worth it. Losing money is worth it. Wasting time is worth it. Following your curiosity is worth it. Allowing yourself to be childlike is worth it. Doing bad things and making mistakes is worth it.

It’s all part of the creative process.

:)

4 Comments

Filed under art & film, artists

4 responses to “The Magic of Making Mistakes

  1. Dwayne Shaw

    I hate two things
    – I hate my art being seen
    – I hate my art not being seen

    Wow!

    This post and the companion video – both brilliant! Thanks so much

    • Thanks! I loved that part too. If you liked that little video, I think you’ll like this movie. It’s called “Very Semi-serious”. You can watch it free on Amazon (with Prime membership). Here is a link to the trailer:

  2. Kimberly Cook

    One of my favorite quips, It reminds me how hard creativity can be.

    “The Creative Process;
    1. This is awesome.
    2. This is tricky.
    3. This is shit.
    4. I am shit.
    4.This might be ok.
    5.This is awesome.”

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