Perfection is the Enemy

Or to be more accurate, perfectionism is our foe. If you’ve been listening to the podcast, you’ll know that I have some misgivings about Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, but when it comes to creative perfectionism she is bang on the button. She described it as just a fancy name for  a fear of failure. How right she is. As long we have a work that’s ‘in progress’ , something that we are getting into a state of just right-ness, we can never say we’ve failed. How can we fail, if we don’t get something out there into the world at large? And so we carry on, honing and perfecting until the moment has gone, until sometimes we just don’t love what we’re working on any more. Then we kill off the project, give it a half-decent burial, courtesy of the shredder, and declare it as having been unworthy of us all the time. Who are we kidding?

Am I reading your thoughts right now? Well, it’s not any kind of mystical jiggery-pokery on my part, it’s just that I’ve been through exactly that process many times myself. In fact if there’s anything I’m an expert in, it’s in giving up, because I just can’t get a writing project finished to the high standard I expect of myself. Who am I kidding?

I haven’t posted a blog for over a week, because I was worrying that any chosen topic might not be quite the right one,and I wouldn’t have enough to say, or at least enough that was devastatingly insightful and witty. So I just didn’t write – at all. And in not writing, I think I have actually misunderstood this whole blogging thing. Some people post every day and I am flipping sure they’re not tearing themselves to pieces over wit and insight. They just say what they want to say and I applaud them. And, yes, some of them are very witty and insightful indeed.

So, my notes to self for this week are as follows:

  1. Don’t get it perfect, get it done.
  2. Find time to post more often. There’s always something to say, even if it won’t get me a Nobel Prize.
  3. Stop kidding yourself…about everything.
  4. Well, that’s enough for one week.

Who knows, you may even hear from me before the week is out. Let’s all keep writing.

Happy creating.

Your non-prize winning friend, Mel




Those Crafty Pixies

So, I’ve just opened my wallet and bought some random items I liked, among them coloured paper, ribbon, a wee frame and my favourite item of all, Cosmic Shimmer Pixie Powder. No, I have no idea what it does, either, but it sounds brilliant! I am hoping it can actually conjure up pixies. Oh, I’ve just noticed something about seeking medical advice on the back of the bottle. Oops.

This report comes to you from a first-time visitor to the Ally Pally Crafting Fair.

The splendid Alexandra Palace was built in 1873 as a place of entertainment for the masses – that would be you and me, friends. Handily, this member of that happy band lives but a fifteen minute walk to the palace door and, so this Sunday found me there, eager to get to grips with crafting.

I had no idea what to expect, and was there more in the capacity of Squatting Toad’s chief researcher, than as an active participant, but I am keen to try out something crafty, and to learn whether I really am as devoid of skill or talent as was assumed at school. I was really quite bad at art and sewing and the like, but I suspect that I hammed it up a bit. Better to be really terrible and joke about it, than merely a bit less than mediocre. Just a theory, from more than thirty years’ distance, anyway.

In the Great Hall of Ally Pally, I felt as out of my depth as I have done at the Vintage Car Show that used to be an annual pilgrimage (don’t ask). Since I couldn’t identify many of the items on sale, I didn’t really come away with a sense of what I’d like to do. I mean, I could just draw on some paper with glue and scatter some glitter on it, especially with pick and mix glitter going for £1 a bag.

How I wished my chum, Emma of emmalucymakes, had been with me. I’m hoping she can advise soon on what to do with my random haul and I may even post up the results at some stage. Watch out for the pixies.

Yes, I was out of my comfort zone and no, I didn’t know what the hell was going on, but the whole thing made me smile (especially the battle at the ‘everything for one pound’ stall), and, yes, I am going to get creative and crafty. If the result is pretty rubbish, I guess I’ll just laugh about like I did when I was thirteen.

I hope you’re all having a creative weekend. More on this crafting lark in a future podcast.