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Why You Should Keep Creating Art, Even If You Think It’s “Bad”

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I am something of a perfectionist when it comes to creating. Whether it be my pursuits of writing, photography, or videography, I always find myself attempting to stop before I even start out of fear that it will turn out embarrassingly terrible.

While this trait of perfectionism drives me to create things I am proud of (like my Her Campus articles) it also holds me back. If I can’t make something perfect after my first couple of tries, I immediately want to scrap the idea.

Lately, I’ve tried to have more patience with myself when it comes to creating. Not everything I make can be perfect on the first try. Better yet: why does everything I make need to be perfect in the first place? Is this standard of perfection I hold for myself even possible? It’s not and it holds me back from creating. So, here’s why you should keep making art. Even if you think it’s bad.

Relying on Reception is Dangerous

If you spent time and effort creating something, why does it matter what other people think about it? Of course we always want the satisfaction of someone telling us our art is good. It’s positive reinforcement for all the work we’ve put into it. However, basing your art’s worth purely on what others think of it is dangerous. You should create art for the intrinsic value it brings to your life. Not the extrinsic value. People will always have negative things to say about what you create. While criticism is important and can help you improve your art, not everyone always has your best interest at heart. So take that with a grain of salt. 

Stay in the Moment

So much of the time we focus on the end goal instead of relishing in the moment. I absolutely have a tendency to do this. If you’re enjoying yourself while you’re creating, isn’t that more important than if what you created is “bad”?

Give It Time

It’s unrealistic to think you can create something in your mind’s exact image of it right away. You might have a great idea for something but when you start, you hate how it turns out. That’s part of the process of creating. Not every idea is going to stick and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you’re untalented or unworthy of creating something you consider to be great.

Art is about self expression. It doesn’t need to be completely perfect. In the words of director Denis Villenueve on his 2021 film Dune: “The truth is that movies are made up of victories and failures. There are some moments in Dune that I knew I was not good enough, there’s others that I feel that I was very close to the original dream…” You can’t create perfect art. That’s impossible. But you can learn from your failures and appreciate your victories. Keep creating! I promise it’s not as bad as you think.

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Victoria Dodd

U Mass Amherst '22

Victoria is a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a major in communication. When she's not writing, you can find her listening to music, watching too many movies, or meditating. Victoria has a wide range of interests such as pop culture, film, music, history, politics, and health and wellness. You can follow her on instagram @flicksfromvic or @vic_dodd.