Dreamares: Jujitsu for Perfectionism

We all have that thing we've been dreaming of and working on for years that just doesn't live up to our expectations. And it seems the more we ponder or sweat over it the less it is like the ideal image we've conjured in our minds. And the mental image is soooo good! And it'll solve world hunger, or satiate western consumerism, or something impossibly badass. But the real deal is always just shy of the ideal. 

What do you do when what you're making isn't living up to what you imagined it would be?

Smile at that image, nod at that image, back away from that image, and run like hell. You can run away from your dream. 

But maybe that's a little over the top or near impossible to pull off. Because dreams, true dreams, nag at the corners of your waking mind and wake you up at night. They won't leave you alone. Right?

True dreams can be a nightmare to deal with, but damn they are worth dealing with in the end. 

Dealing with any ideal is a conundrum. True dreams are a utopian illusion, and chasing them feels like a stroll through an Escher print. But even if you abandon the idea, it feels hardwired into you like dollar weeds in grass. 

The trick, I think, to dealing with ideals and dreams is balance. If your creative life is a car ride, let the ideal dream ride shotgun. Don't let it drive. If you are creating poetry, let the ideal give a critique of what you write. Don't let it keep you from publishing. If you are designing a table, let the dream table push the level of your craft. But make the damn table. 

In this way, perfection is fuel for the creative process instead of sludge clogging the engine.

Thomas Karst