”A creative work is completed many times over. It is completed each time the creator comes to a subjective sense of completion (even if that sense lasts only for an instant) and each time the work reaches an objective stage of completion (even the most "trivial," like the gessoing of a canvas, the sprucing up of a single sentence, the righting of a single chord progression.)
All these subjective and objective completions count." (Eric Maisel, Fearless Creating, 165)
When we are in the stage of Completing our work, the anxiety of critical mind can take over. It is easy to be seduced by all the things that are Wrong about our work, all the things we should have/could have done. But rather than succumbing to this tantalizing list that keeps us from moving forward, it is important to feed this anxiety through Appropriate Appraising.
What does this look like?
It’s about giving yourself permission to let the work go and not beating yourself up because it isn’t “perfect.”
Here are a couple of strategies for cultivating appropriate appraising:
- Generate a list of criteria that would help you determine if your work has reached completion. For instance, an abstract painter might determine that her paintings are complete if they satisfy her original intent—that is to have created a body of work that was alive and powerful and that successfully captured a particular theme or intent she wished to convey.
- Come up with some detachment mantras that give you permission to step away from the work and deem it finished—like, “Done!” “The work’s ready now” “It’s not perfect, but it’s not imperfect either.” “That’s good enough for now”
Thanks as always to Eric Maisel, my teacher and first creativity coach, and the author of Creating Fearlessly, from which this material was taken.
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