I think it’s obvious by now that I am a meticulous planner/outliner and a perfectionist. I’m forever trying to get the artwork on the page to match that perfect vision in my head. Just imagine the nights of anguish when time after time, that didn’t happen.
But I’ve learned to fight (and occasionally conquer) my perfectionism. It’s not a matter of lowering standards–merely of approaching them from a different direction. Because here’s the thing: we perfectionists have incredible artists’ visions. We have drive and discipline (when we’re not procrastinating out of fear, that is). We have the willpower to make those visions a reality. And that’s a good thing.
What’s not a good thing is poring over the work so long that it never sees the light of day. Or driving yourself into the ground. Refusing to finish in pursuit of that elusive perfect standard. The whole idea of making good art is to enjoy it, right? Creating something for you and others to admire. But that cannot happen if you refuse to let it go.
So here’s the deal: recognize that your vision for your work is good. That your high standards for your art is wonderful–because, let’s face it, a lot of mediocre work gets put out there. (Fantastic Four remake. That is all.) So congratulate yourself for having high standards and the willingness to pursue them.
But then assess what is most important about your artistic vision. In the case of a writer–is the goal to write beautiful prose, or inspire, encourage, make readers think? A watercolor artist–is the goal to have every detail perfect, or to capture the emotions of the viewer?
That’s not to say details should fall by the wayside, but you should assess what your ultimate goal is for the artwork, and what you can realistically do. And then pursue that rather than focus on making every aspect perfect. The good news is, the more you work, the better you’ll get!