Better Than Perfect

I often operate under a counterproductive assumption that: if a result isn’t perfect, then it’s sort of pointless. (But I don’t want my effort to be pointless! I gotta strive for perfection!) Yet applying this premise to daily endeavors only brings on artist’s block.

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At the start, perfection is paralyzing. The more daunting and time-consuming the execution of a project appears, the more tempting it becomes to quit without trying. At the end, perfection begs for that last edit, and then another and another. It narrows perspective, obscures balance.

Furthermore, perfection is merely perception! As an appreciative judgement, “perfect!” identifies the flaws in a work a great fit to your taste. Otherwise transient, “perfect” shifts to “could be better” as you grow in skill and discernment.

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So I remind myself to begin things small; to leave them at completion rather than perfection; to strive for progress. Because done is better.

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8 Responses to Better Than Perfect

    • Kinda nice that one can improve infinitely. 🙂

      Except I suspect that realizing this stuff doesn’t necessarily make accomplishing goals easier – still gotta put the work in. Though results in long lasting high morale 😛

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  1. wildbilbo says:

    Working on this myself. Trying for ‘polished’ over ‘perfect’.

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  2. Sarah says:

    Love, love, love this! done totally is better than perfect, or as my mentor repeatedly reminds me, “don’t let perfection get in the way of action” (guilty as charged). I forgot to give you calligraphy toys today. gah. Good on you for writing several pages! and don’t inspirational quotes somehow mean more to you when you’ve written them in calligraphy? i really like that feeling. also now i reallllllllllllllly want to learn if there is russian copperplate. omg. would be so awesome. if i looked up russian cursive i could probably make up a decent copperplate alphabet based on it, in the highly unlikely event that no one has made it previously. NEW FUN PROJECT! //end excited stream of consciousness

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    • Oh, I like that quote also! (I’m into quotes and mottos lately – I’m very tempted to write/draw a ton of them and hang them around the studio – except I’m going against my own advice and putting that off until I can calligraphy better :/)

      And I forgot to ask you for the calligraphy books you have – I’d love to look at/borrow anything fit for beginners.

      Let me know if you find anything about fonts in Russian! Searching for “калиграфия” yields, ridiculously, mostly results with english font. Culturally we certainly have fancy fonts – I’ve seen them used for old russian, in religious texts or in stories about mythology. Except they tend to look like architecture, and be semi-unreadable, like this: http://www.programata.bg/img/gallery/gallery_37078.jpg

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      • Sarah says:

        omg that pinterest board makes me weak at the knees. and she had some awesome russian examples on there! not copperplate exactly (more modern), but i think copperplate could definitely be done too!

        also, i def have a million quotes that are meaningful to me pinned to a board that i keep right in front of me at my desk! they are a nice encouragement boost. also want to try doing a few in calligraphy. 🙂 remind me to lend you my books on sunday! my favorite though is joe vitolo http://www.iampeth.com/lessons_copperplate.php it’s how i learned! and i think gives a good understanding for how to control the pen/ink and the relevant considerations in designing a hand (like x-height, ascenders, spacing, slant, etc) even if you don’t want to do traditional copperplate ultimately…like how ballet training makes you a good modern dancer. 🙂

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