Recently the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon was recommended to me, and on a long flight to Peru I decided it was going to be my in-flight entertainment.
I found myself nodding my head at every turn of the page, so much truth in there and in a way so very personal and moving for me.
I'm the eternal perfectionist, nothing that I do is ever "good enough" and even though I'm hardworking, talented and creative, I've always felt that in order to put something out in the world it needs to amazing, incredible, unique, wonderful, and of course, perfect.
The problem with my formula is that, well, I'm a human being and by nature perfection is just not possible. I can't possibly predict every outcome, and have every answer and have everything figured out, so in result, everything that I set out to do becomes a massive undertaking of predicting and figuring things that "can possibly happen in 5 or 10 years, maybe".
The book begins explaining that the idea of "ORIGINAL" doesn't exist. This is a weird concept for me because as designers we are always looking to innovate, be different, be unique. The truth is that in your search for that "unique and amazing masterpiece", there can also be a lot of great work that you can feel proud of, that looks and feels similar to other people's, or that has been done before you, except that it is unique because it was made by YOU.
Page 7 of the book came with the biggest revelation for me:
What a good artist understand is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.
Some people find this idea depressing, but it fills me with hope. As the French writer André Gide put it, <Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again>".
So even though it has been said before, I will say it again: You do you. Do what you love, do what makes you happy. Even if that already exists, even if there's a million of what you have already, there is always room for more. So I'm going to try and follow my own advise and leave the insecurities and the double guessing behind. I will tweak as I go, because DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT.