Drawing something that didn’t turn out the way you had hoped may sting. Nobody likes the feeling of having done something poorly. But it’s important to manage negative thoughts about yourself and your work. Here are five steps you can take to process the emotional side effects of creating what you view as not-so-great art:
- Let yourself feel bad. You made an inadequate drawing? Allow yourself to feel bad about it. Wallow, beat yourself up, and hang your head—but only for a limited time. Yep, give yourself a pity deadline. After a half-hour, cut it out. It’s time to . . .
- Find the good. Look at that wretched drawing. Is the entire thing a flop? Or is there some little kernel of good in there? Maybe you shaded one small detail well. Or had a good concept even though the execution was poor. Give yourself credit for what went well, and carry that with you as you . . .
- Move on to the next piece. Thankfully, there’s always another blank page. Don’t wait too long to get back to drawing after you’ve “struck out.” You want to be able to . . .
- Own it, not become it. In the famous words of Zig Ziglar, “Failure is an event, not a person.” Having a failure and being a failure are two different things. You had a failure, and you admitted this when you let yourself feel bad. Don’t adopt failure as your identity. It’s just a thing you did, not who you are. Revisit old drawings that you’re proud of if you need to balance the scales. After all, you want to . . .
- Put your opinion first. According to Brené Brown’s research, perfectionism is about other people’s perceptions, which is something that you can’t control. Brown suggests that a way to take back the reins of your creative work is to stop asking, “But what will people think?” and to start asking, “But what do I think?”
So, what do you think? Can you ruin the page?