I’ve had this little stuffed dog since I was eight…that would be time measured in decades. He doesn’t have the fancy scarves that many of my other stuffed animals had, nor is he particularly big. But I’ve always loved this one, because in my child-mind when I was eight, he was injured. Note that one leg is slightly longer than the others.
He could have been pulled from the assembly line and thrown out as an imperfection. I’m glad he wasn’t, because even now I am quite fond of my little stuffed dog. I have a couple of teddy bears that survived the years of boxing and giving away, but this little pup has lasted longest. He was never a perfect stuffed animal and that’s why I still have him.
When we work through creative endeavors and look back on past work, sometimes it’s easy to cringe. Because we don’t have the right perception. We look at it like the machinist sewing fabric who will never know that the little girl receiving the imperfect toy loved it all the more. We’re not assembly line painters and writers. We ache over every detail. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Our creative past was full of pitfalls and imperfections. It had to be. That’s how we learn. And what you’re writing and painting now SHOULD be worse than the thing you write and paint five years from now…or else you’re not growing.
Look with open eyes. Don’t cringe or excuse it. Sure, it’s an imperfect work of art, so what? There can be beauty in imperfection. Do your best on each endeavor, because that’s how we learn, but when it’s done, move forward. Angst over a past project will only freeze future projects.
Remember how to play? How you spent hours drawing cartoons and it didn’t matter if a line was a bit wobbly because “Wow, wasn’t it cool how close to Tweety it looked?” Capture those moments and return to the drawing table, return to the notebooks, and start to draw and write and enjoy the creation of something new.
Do it now and you’ll have something to celebrate in twenty years.