I mean, it’s finished. There’s always things I would change, but it’s done.
I find myself saying this all the time.
And the other day, I asked myself why.
And realised the answer was singularly stupid.
I say it, because if someone finds fault with my work, then they think that I know it’s there too (as if there’s doubt that I’m not questioning my work).
And secondly, I say it to persuade myself to let go, call something finished (which, as we know, is a choice).
The second part is not too stupid, but the first is disappointing. Of course, I know where it comes from.
Anyone with a degree in classical music knows well the pressure of perfection and newness. If you don’t believe me, find someone and ask them. Ask them about their last submission, their last performance. Or, perhaps more accurately, the last time they didn’t perform, because the piece that they had been practicing for 6 months, although beautiful, wasn’t ready yet.
Why was it not ready?
Because they can’t play it through at least ten times in a row without making a single mistake.
You get the picture. Perfection wasn’t asked for, it was expected.
Now, I’ve come out of it rather well, all told. I know it’s ridiculous, and I can, when doing well, accept mistakes.
But what I can’t seem to shake is this idea that what I make will never be really finished, because it will never actually be good enough.
People make a strange assumption about creative people. They think that their perspective, of seeing a talented person, who can create beautiful things, is the perspective that person has of themselves. That that person couldn’t possibly be unaware that they are in fact good at something.
Spoiler alert: we rarely feel good at what we do.
Now, there’s so much to say about this, but actually I just have one thing to say to all the creative people who read this.
You should be proud of your work. Proud of what you’ve created. Proud of yourself, and who you were made to be.
I started doing this a bit last year. I made a quick cover of a song, and really enjoyed what I made. So when I was feeling defeated for the next few months, I would listen back to what I’d done.
And feel proud of myself.
It doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a small start.
Jena Ren, 2022