September 30, 2015

BARHYDT | The Cost of Perfectionism

Print More


I was having some trouble coming up with a topic for my blog this week, but then it dawned on me that spending too much time making decisions like this is the biggest obstacle in the way of my creative process. It’s cheesy to start a post like this, I know, but it’s true. I spend a lot of time shooting for perfection in my writing, in my songs, in my life.

I love writing songs. What I mean is that I love writing bits of songs. I sit down at my piano, whip out a few chords and try out a few melody lines with random lyrics, hoping I like whatever comes out. It’s usually a bit of a struggle, but sometimes I hit the jackpot. In that case, I press the bright red button on my iPhone’s voice memos, play around some more and then re-record. But after my original recording stint, my short little melody rarely grows into a full song. It’s frustrating that I never finish songs, and it’s taken a little while to figure out that my perfectionism is what stands in the way between a little ditty and a completed song.

I think what gets in the way is my fear of an imperfect song. There’s a lot of pressure when I sit down at the piano thinking that the final product should be flawless. It stops me from freely experimenting, from taking risks — at a certain point it just becomes impossible to move forward. That’s why I have over a hundred unfinished songs sitting in my iPhone.

The stress of perfectionism inhibits creativity, and I think it’s important for any perfectionist to just let go, to take risks, to be okay with a finished product that isn’t perfect and to always challenge oneself to resist the perfectionist urge. The great thing about writing and composing is that your first draft doesn’t have to be your final one.