When "Perfection" Becomes Inefficiency

You know when you're preparing for a job interview and you try to come up with answers for that "Name 3 of your weaknesses" question, but you have to find a way to twist them around to sound like strengths? Well, I know this is gonna sound so cliché, but the first thing that comes to mind for me when I think of that is: "I am such a perfectionist that it sometimes gets in the way of my work."


I know you're all probably rolling your eyes at me right now, but bear with me - I have a point to make! The reason I'm even bringing this up at all right now is because I honestly just want to vent about my struggles (#puhleez) and now that I'm a blogger and all, I can just write about anything I want and you have to listen (well you don't HAVE to since you can just choose to close your browser window or go back to that shopping cart on Amazon full of things you shouldn't buy and have been staring at for the last 3 days or go back to watching YouTube videos of cats being brats to dogs, because let's face it, dogs are angels and cats are in fact brats, or basically just do anything else except read this blog post, but I'm gonna choose to believe that you won't do that because you obviously are dying to hear what I have to say!)


ANYWAYS (remember in my first post when I warned you guys that I tend to ramble!?), the reason I'm writing this post is because I realized that something I really struggle with working as a freelance hand letterer/designer is knowing when something is "done" and moving on to the next project.


I tend to work and rework and rework a project some more because I'll keep finding flaws with each draft. It's either the strokes aren't even enough, the spaces between my letters aren't the same, the colors aren't right (anyone else every feel like they can't seem to find the color they're imagining in their mind!?), the dot on the "i" isn't centered or the cross on the "t" isn't straight enough...I could go on and on.

Of course, I know the difference between my own compulsive need to fix those little details that no one else would probably notice, versus a complete flop in my work, like when I misspell a word or use the wrong vinyl color or get a huge Sharpie paint pen blob all over a mirror seating chart (#theworst!). Those are mistakes that should definitely be corrected before handing a finished product over to a client.


On the other hand, sometimes I think I get so into my own head and get so overwhelmed by projects I'm working on because I spend so much time redoing something that should have been done like 47 minutes ago, and even though I know it's "fine", I can't seem to let myself move on because "fine" isn't perfect! Then, when the project is done and it's time to turn it over to the client, I'll end up just focusing on the little things that I could have done better, rather than giving myself props for the amazing work that I just did.


Don't get me wrong - I have no problem giving myself props and/or literally patting myself on the back for a job well done, but I am also my toughest critic. Even when I have a satisfied client who is obsessed with the beautiful hand lettered thing I just turned over to them, I'll feel like I failed in some way.


I'm sure many of you other creatives can completely relate to this, and what I want to know is how do you get past it!? How do you let yourself know that it's okay that the strokes aren't even enough, the spaces between my letters aren't the same, the colors aren't right,...you get where I'm going with this! I think the takeaway from all this is that even though we'll probably always feel like we could have done better, it's important to take a step back and be proud of the work we've done and not be so hard on ourselves!