Well, it took me a while to get around to reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Sure I’d heard about the morning pages and I knew about the artist’s date, what did I need to read the book for? Well I got the book from the library yesterday and, as I usually do with non-fiction, I opened the book to a random page and started reading. Here’s what I found. It happened to be a bit about perfectionism.
To the perfectionist, there is always room for improvement. The perfectionist calls this humility. In reality, it is egotism. It is pride that makes us want to write a perfect script, paint a perfect painting, perform a perfect audition monologue.
Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough — that we should try again.
No. We should not.
It took a lot of will power this morning not to do “just one more” recording of this Scarlatti Sonata. But I had plans for the day and decided that it was “good enough.” My goal was to finally learn this piece, since I’ve loved it for years. It’s not difficult by any means, but I’m never totally satisfied with the opening ornaments. (I have a similar “fear” of the opening of the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata Op 2 No 3 in C major.) But there it is. I did it. It’s the best it is right now. And I’m putting it out there. I’m letting it go.
(And by the way, I’m so happy I finally picked up this book. It showed up at the right time….)
- The Price of Perfectionism (psychologicalscience.org)
- Artists Beware: 3 Dangers of Perfectionism (havenforscofflaws.com)