Friday, January 25, 2008

What Happens When It Doesn't Turn Out Right?

Frozen bird bath girl
You know the feeling.

You've poured time, effort, and skill into a project that simply doesn't work out the way you wanted. Or you're pleased with the results of your efforts, but public reception is, shall we say, lukewarm, at best.


I hate that feeling, even though I know it is a part of life. Especially a creative life. Right now, I'm tired. A creative project took up most of my time and energy this week, but the total results were less than stellar. I'm disappointed to the point of grouchy depression.

Here's my methods for dealing with the disappointment:

1. Get some rest. Often after a big project which has taken enormous effort, I'm plain and simple exhausted.

Out of gas.


Time for some quiet time. Read, doodle, swing on the porch swing, or go fishing. Sleep in or take a nap. Rest. Eat well. Everything looks better when you are not emotionally, physically, or creatively exhausted.

2. Get some perspective. Maybe the endeavor turned out better than the first reactions indicated. Review your writing. Take another look at your painting. Look over the project. What did work out well? What are your favorite parts? You initial disappointment might be tempered by realizing what was right about what you created.

3. Get real. Sometimes its true. What we did was awful. Not up to snuff. Poor. Acknowledge it, analyze it, learn from it, and move on. The first few times I read a piece at my writer's group, their critique was tough to take. Especially if I'd polished the words quite a bit before taking them out for an 'airing.' After the buzzing in my ears quietened down and I looked at my work with a fresh eye, I had to admit my critique buddies had point. In fact, I could reluctantly admit, they were often right. I absorbed the new knowledge, learned from it, and put it into practice with my next writing session.

Yes, I'm disappointed in this week's challenges, but I will not think of myself as a failure. I *choose* to think of myself as a student, always learning. With rest, and time, I'll be able to properly evaluate the situation's results. Next time I take on this particular project, the outcome will be different. Until then, I'm going to be kind to myself.

2 Other Creative Souls are Saying:

Becky said...


I want to share a favorite quote of mine from the great dancer/choreographer--Martha Graham:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Donna/NM said...

RE: Martha Graham quote

What a beautiful, affirming quote for the creative spirit in all of us!!!!!!!!