Struggling with Perfectionism

I just came upon this great blog entry regarding perfectionism and creativity. It’s an interesting read and written by a therapist out in Los Angeles who seems to be a kindred spirit to what I’m doing with Upside Wellness. The therapist/author is David Silverman yet he does not appear to be related to The Simpsons director of the same name. Check out the blog by clicking HERE.

I work a lot with creative people. People who are writers, artists, performers, musicians, comedians, and actors. Common issues that creative people struggle with are fear of failure, creative blocks, motivation, follow-through, anxiety, “over-analyzing,” and of course the ever-powerful beast of PERFECTIONISM.

I myself was once an aspiring filmmaker who many moons ago went to UT film school hoping to be the next Quentin Tarantino, so Tip #1 definitely resonated with me. I think this blog is great advice for anyone involved in the arts or really just about any creative field. I love the way they address a particular way of concrete thinking with “I’m either a success or a failure. There’s nothing in between.” And tip number 5 is great life advice for pretty much anybody.

I love the intersection between psychology and creativity. Wellness and artistic expression. I was recently reminded of this Ira Glass quote:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

That’s about as real as it gets. If you consider yourself creative, keep fighting.


Lane Ingram, M.Ed., LPC

Upside Wellness, founder