Herding Fish

coaching for artists and makers


13 October 2022

How do you decide when a piece of work is complete? Do you give it all the time it needs to be absolutely perfect, or is there a point when it’s ‘good enough’ and you can get it out into the world and move on?

Creative projects often have more possibilities than can be fully realised – especially in a team of one. Working out what’s ‘good enough’ in any particular instance is a powerful way to protect yourself from delays and burnout. [Note to NI readers – this isn’t the same as declaring ‘sure it’ll do rightly’ – that’s another story altogether!]

Once you’re clear about what you want to achieve with any particular work, you can be realistic about how much time to spend on it. A new idea may need more time than regular pieces that rely on your core skills. And when you’re clear about what it’s for, you are more able to decide when a piece of work is complete.

The world of social media bombards us with images and ideas of other people’s work. In one way it’s great to be working away in my studio on a farm in rural Northern Ireland and know what Glenn Adamson’s up to in New York this morning. But the constant onslaught can be exhausting. It’s hard (impossible even) not to fall into comparisons and set yourself up for a dose of imposter syndrome.

The 80/20 principle suggests that 20% of the effort produces 80% of the results.  If that’s the case, can you learn to trust your skills and ease off the anxiety? When you trust yourself in the process you can achieve the same results much more gracefully.