June 21, 2013

Are You Killing Your Creativity When You Strive to be Perfect When You Are Chosen For Custom Projects?

aceo crackle surface dots in bright colors New End Studio
An ongoing project with no end in view, begins like a tree in the forest, but all that effort in making the work perfect, turns the tree into a toothpick.  A box of toothpicks is a sad display of effort.

When someone suggested I make custom items, I nearly passed out.

My throat tightened, heart started beating louder and blood pressure increased.  The heat rose in my face to the top of my head, and I felt faint. My blood sugar dropped.

I had to sit.  Wait.  I was sitting. 
Dizziness and cortisol were speeding through my muscles, the adrenalin wasn't released fast enough.

On the outside, I looked cool and collected. 
Inside, my hearing went quiet and I just wanted to continue to block out the conversation without being rude.  I wanted to rewind back a minute before the idea of custom work was suggested.

Don't we all (sometimes) want a rewind button?

Perfection and custom work are seriously unmeshed in my book.  I want the work to be the best possible.  Having multiple projects going at the same time helps me to not finish things, giving way to all kinds of time demands.

Okay, moving house is a big time demand, and eye surgeries, eye issues, and regular life does put a big dent into any free time; but, eventually I have to finish the projects.

Copious amounts of honing and polishing the work drag out the inevitable conclusion.  I usually find fault with something, days, weeks, even years later. Laying out boundaries does not come into the solution.  Humor does though.

I'm not perfect.  When polishing and readjusting keeps the item from getting to its destination, it makes perfection a fault.  The recipient doesn't see the imperfection, they only know they are waiting for the finished item to arrive.  I'm usually a bit early, but for something I am so invested in, I will drag out the details, procrastinate, and refine, hone, and repeat.

Worry over what someone thinks or says is not productive, and you can always find a rogues gallery of critics.  Those who receive the item matter.  Those who don't understand the work, don't buy the work- don't matter.  The old saying, "You can't please everyone all of the time, " is so true.
New End Studio Say Yes in flower petals and twigs
Read my blog post for the Say Yes bouquet.

Taking some wisdom to replace perfectionism procrastination and make a good habit includes: Polish to the best point possible.  Get the work into the hands of those who want and appreciate the idea, time, effort, and expression. Enjoy the process and see it through to its end.

Using the best efforts available, "Finish the work."  
Then let it go.

Are you a stress-free custom project maker?  Do you enjoy custom work or do you like to follow  your own path?  Would you ever refuse a custom request?


Christine Altmiller said...

you nailed why i hate custom work. i want to please people by saying yes to custom work, but in the end it takes me 20x longer to make a custom work because i fret every stitch, which makes me despise the whole process. i am thinking of saying NO to custom work...because it is bad for my health and my creativity!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Custom work has been very good to me lately! I am working on a large order and have one definite and two possibles waiting in the wings. The only time I turned down a custom order was from a Bride who kept asking questions, but never could make up her mind. I finally suggested she might be happier looking or a ready-made bouquet.

Magic Love Crow said...

I like custom work, as long as I can put my own twist on it ;o) You know me and my twists! LOL! Happy for you and your custom order! You should take it easy on yourself ;o) I don't want you to have a heart attack! Take Care Gloria ;o)

AntiquityTravelers said...

oh there was a time when all my 'sold' items were custom. And it is very stressful, and I can't tell you how many pieces I ripped out because they thought it was just a small change. sigh. happy to not be doing custom work anymore!

Linda said...

I stress over everything. Whichever project I'm working on I stress. I think it goes with Art in general.
Great post.

Lucy said...

I can't relate but you explained it so well I could feel your artist angst. As the person who enjoys the art I know I never see the imperfections the artist does see, I see all the beauty, but the reason it is so beautiful is because of your stress and perfectionist side, what a double edge sword, I am sure.

Lucy from Lucy's Reality

Miss Val's Creations said...

I am not a fan of custom work either since I prefer to do my own thing. However when a customer asks I always follow through. It is not always easy to bring someone else's ideas to life. Interestingly enough once I complete a custom order to the customer's liking, I feel a sense of inspiration!

I was thinking of you as my eyes were healing (they still are). Eye surgery is so scary going into. They are such an important part of our body.