overcoming perfectionism

Overcoming Perfectionism and Nurturing Music Creativity

“The fear of doing things imperfectly turns what should be fun and creative endeavors into worrisome tasks.” -Chris Baty

Ah, the Inner Editor of perfectionism…we all have one. Some of us know how to keep this guy in a straight jacket but others seem to let him bounce around the walls of our studio, whining and complaining about every detail until he’s left us tired and uninspired. There’s a time and place to let your Inner Perfectionism have the reigns but when you’re first working on a production or creating new music it is not the time. As creative people we all have to learn the mental personality called the Inner Editor and choose to control him and use him what he’s made for: Editing.

If you are not editing but actually CREATING then the Inner Editing should be locked in your bathroom out of ear shot and not even a thought in your mind. If you have not mastered this, than it will take time. Like a heroin attack some of us love to over-use our Inner Editor any time, any place to critique and analyze our music and of course, others’ music. If this addiction is leaving you stuttering and drooling in front of your computer every night, than it’s time for rehab, my friend. Kick that Inner Editor to the curb and have some fun creating!

When you’re in the delicate stages of development you must resist the urge to edit vocals, doubt your melodies and second guess your sounds. You must keep in the flow and keep moving. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn to use your mistakes to make your tracks sound more creative and funky. Resist perfectionism and spend only moments on each process of creating and recording. Keep your Inner Editor gagged and bound and watch how much your creativity will flourish and grow and pretty soon you’ll be keeping company with a whole other, more enticing, more satisfying friend: Mrs. Creativity..

Mrs. Creativity and the Inner Editor don’t get along too well. They actually fight like cats and dogs and need to be treated completely differently. Mrs. Creativity is a diva, a goddess that needs pampering, a safe environment and lots of loving compliments. She enjoys being splurged on, fun toys and gadgets and revels in spontaneity. The Inner Editor on the other hand, has a type A personality, loves perfectionism, a rigid schedule to keep, and a keen eye for detail. Keep these two vital characters in separate parts of your brain and learn to use them to your advantage. When Mrs. Creativity comes and sprinkles magic fairy dust on every thing she touches, she’ll wine and dine you till you’re giggling like a school girl. Let her have her way with no rules and no restrictions, allowing her to play. Once she leaves, allow the Inner Editor to come in and clean and tidy up her mess. This is where the Inner Editor flourishes! Allow him to tweak and edit, refine your sound choices and clean up messy lyrics. He’ll have a ball working with all of Mrs. Creativity’s gold-spun art.

As you can see, these two mental characters can work together beautifully if you allow them their own space and regulate their coming and going. Learn to acknowledge and respect each of their timings and you’ll reap the rewards with a more balanced and productive  approach to your music. Overcoming perfectionism and nurturing music creativity for the hobbyist,  students or child geniuses will bring out the giftedness and talent in any music production, making beats and recording.

Tutorial: Overcoming Perfectionism and Nurturing Music Creativity
1) Schedule time to create and stick to it. Discard all phone calls, emails or personal distractions (lock your door). Do the same with your mind.
2) When creating, do not listen to the inner critic giving advice on edits, arrangements, how things should sound or any thoughts that are not on the subject of your current creativity/project.
3) AFTER, your scheduled time of creativity, bring the technical critic, think of what others might say, then find references to compare and make objective decisions on the technical work. Remember, creativity is at its perfection when it is first allowed to breathe, edited and then this process loops until you are truly satisfied with your work.

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Absolutely great article

Great Article Edward. Thanks for the knowledge/insight & for all the support!

Thank you Mr. Unger, I will use this strategy and tame my perfectionist so that I can actually make a beat! Best of luck finishing the album.

Yeah it’s hard to clean up after Mrs. Creativity :))))

It’s posts like this that keep me coming back and checking this site regularly, thanks for the info!

Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article