Chris Schwarz takes on creative paralysis

In a recent post, Christopher Schwarz takes on the paralysis that comes from perfectionism.  At some point, you have to commit to finishing the project in front of you.

One of the best and worst pieces of advice in woodworking goes something like this: Do the very best job that you possibly can.

On the one hand, you get just one shot to build your project. And then you (plus your family or customer) has to live with the furniture until it goes into a museum or the city dump. Of course, when you are first starting out in the craft, getting things perfect can be paralyzing.

2 thoughts on “Chris Schwarz takes on creative paralysis

  1. getting things perfect can be paralysing, heck…. i have trouble getting things started most of the time.

    money may not grow on trees, but trees sure cost money. maybe if i can get over the “cost” of doing it wrong and see it as necessary growth, learning, and development….

    but first, to find the time….

  2. Hi Paul,

    I realized as I was posting that this was an incomplete thought. Where I’m headed with it, though, is a larger discussion on creativity, including the more universal methods of breaking through creative barriers.

    The cost of materials can be a significant barrier to creativity, and one that I struggle with, too. I’ve been fortunate in finding some good deals on wood in the past year, and that has freed up my creativity. But the lumber is going fast!

    To give a more neutral example, I enjoy taking pictures, but the cost of film and development created a significant creative barrier for me. Once I switched to digital, though, I found my muse once again.

    You’re right also in that there is a balance between the cost of making a mistake and the benefit from learning from it.

    What I concluded from Chris’s original topic was that while we risk falling short of our vision by making mistakes, we’ll never get near our vision if we allow our fear of failure to overcome us and prevent us from moving forward.


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