Failure
noun
1. an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success:
2. non-performance of something due, required, or expected:

Failure – there’s been a lot written on this topic but it’s been rattling around in my head for the last few days, so I thought I would write it down. One of the best ways that I process is to write so I’m hoping this post will help make sense of these thoughts to me, – and to you.

Failing

I missed my self-imposed deadline of at least one post a week on the blog – last week. Part of the reason for that was that a project that I was making for the blog didn’t pan out the way I wanted it too. It was a autumnal garland which I started to make with some wire leaves. I loved the leaves but they didn’t work on the garland, they were too small didn’t show up enough.

wireleaves

Then I made some leaves and woodland animals with some FIMO for the garland and they were ok, but the fox fell forward on the string as I had made the holes in the wrong place. The acorns didn’t work. I really had no place to put this garland. I put it on the dresser – didn’t work. I taped it to the wall  – the pesky fox took a dive and I didn’t want to put nails in the wall in the space where it could hang.

garland on wall

Crippling

So this garland is my route to talking about failure. How do you deal with it? Is my garland a failure? The word failure carries with it so many connotations. Thinking like this can cripple me and I start to think along these negative lines; ‘I can’t get anything right’, ‘nothing works’, ‘I’m rubbish at this’, ‘why bother anyway’. Sometimes I’m in a good place and can put it in focus of; ‘it’s all a learning experience’, ‘it’s not a failure if I’ve learnt something’, ‘so it didn’t work – how can I make it work?’

I don’t like to think of things in terms of stark, polar points of failure and success, because really – what do they mean? Nothing is ever truly irredeemable and nothing is ever truly perfect. Thinking along these lines of perfectionism or defeatism can cripple us from moving forward.

Prejudging

I often ponder that some may think about me or this blog; ‘why start a blog?’, ‘why has she decided to show DIY decor on the internet?’ And I’m not an expert, there will always be someone doing it better, someone with more followers, more page views. What have I got to add? But the great thing about this online world, is that we all have something to say, everyone’s experience is unique and valid and stories are what connect us to each other. I love to read other blogs and find so much encouragement in hearing of other’s journeys and thoughts.

Moving forward

So my garlands didn’t work out and I’m not going to write a tutorial on how to make these *wonderful* garlands. Because, as it turns out, I do like to put stuff on here that I like and think is pretty good. But making them wasn’t wasted time and I got to write this post instead. I also got to wonder why they didn’t work, I think part of the reason was because I made them for the blog, not for me. Often something has to be authentic to work. I wasn’t feeling it (oh how luvvy!), I didn’t love it or need it. And the great thing with making things is that sometimes the purpose is served solely in the process, I got to be creative with my mind and my hands. Sometimes that is enough, the result is secondary. We write off doing things, because we think; ‘the result will be rubbish’ or ‘we are not capable’ or ‘someone else can do it better’, but we miss the point. Sometimes the value is in the step forward. To dare to try. Sometimes it takes courage, even in the small things, but it is so worth it.

polymerclaygarland

Unrestricted

So this week, I am going to press through and I will continue to be creative, I will rest because the worst work comes when I’m tired. I am going to write and post on the blog. It may be that my focus may be more creativity than tutorials this week but there’s a season for everything. What I make may be good, I may love it or it may just be the outlet that my soul needs and the result may be average, but it won’t matter. The result has no bearing on my worth, no full representation of my ability, also my worth is not in my ability. I will be brave even in that tentative, small step forward, because I will not restrict myself from creating.

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Creativity and failure
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4 thoughts on “Creativity and failure

  • 6th October 2015 at 12:12 am
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    Insipirational stuff and much wisdom Abi. I’m reminded of the poem If by Rudyard Kipling “If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same”. I’m no literary scholar but to me that implies that good and bad results (success and failure) are really only arbitrary value-judgements that we make or are taught to make by those around us. To use another well-worn analogy – every so-called failure brings us one step closer to success. As I’m sure any scientist or entrepreneur will attest: you have to wade through a whole load of crap before you you get the result you’re after. So you could say that ‘failure’ is just a necessary stepping stone in the process of learning and perfecting what we do. But then I know you already knew that. Just keep doing your thang! 🙂

    Reply
    • 6th October 2015 at 9:30 am
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      Thanks for commenting Mark. Yes, triumph and disaster as imposters I like that!

      Reply
  • 26th October 2016 at 4:35 pm
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    You know, I actually really love that garland. I understand that you made it for the blog rather than for yourself but I think it’s sweet and with a few decorated pegs, it’d make a wonderful line to hang seasonal art from your children.
    I think we all have failures in our creativity. You have an image in your head but somehow can’t quite achieve it. But that’s the fun of being creative – you can turn it into something else or just start again. Baked fimo of course can’t be squished back down to use again, but they can be used as cake toppers or even stencils. I find recycling comes into play quite a lot with my makes and bakes!

    Reply
    • 26th October 2016 at 4:47 pm
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      Definitely agree, I re-used the animals as place setting decorations and I am learning that creativity is a continuum and that just because something feels like a failure, it never really is when there is something to take away from it. Thanks again for your kind comment Emma.

      Reply

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