Sunday, September 24, 2017

Chatty Sunday: Making Mistakes

Recently, I was watching a card-making video where the crafter made a mistake and showed how she fixed it. I thought that was a pretty cool thing to add into the video, because I know I've made the same mistakes plenty of times and it would be nice to know how to fix them. And scanning through the video comments, I'm certainly not the only one. There were a whole bunch of appreciative comments that thanked the crafter for showing that card-making isn't always perfect. Mistakes happen!

But when you stop and think about it, mistakes are very rarely shared. If you take a stroll through someone's blog or their YouTube channel, you will only see the best of their work - the cream of the crop. You don't see the not-really-sure-about-this creations, the outright flops and the cards that went straight in the garbage bin. Seeing this carefully-edited collection makes the viewer feel like card-making should be effortless and mistake-free - when in reality, it's anything but.

And I do get it. Mistakes are disarming. They bump us down in confidence, leave us vulnerable and they come with all kinds of what-if's attached. What if someone sees that ugly card and thinks I suck at cardmaking? What if someone sees that ugly card and thinks I'm only sharing it to fish for compliments? What if that company was thinking of inviting me to their DT, but that ugly card made them reconsider? What if someone uses that ugly card as an example of what not to do with card-making? Those what-if's are probably always there in the back of our minds. But when you share a creation you're proud of, you can tell yourself "what if..., but at least I'm happy with it".

There's nothing wrong with only sharing what makes you happy. Nothing wrong with curating your many artistic messes and showing off your successes. But there's also plenty of room and ways to show off your mistakes without sacrificing your authority and the way you're perceived.

You can teach just as much - maybe more! - by showing what doesn't work. And there's benefits in it for you. Critically thinking about your art is incredibly valuable. Not only does it help you avoid making the same mistake on your next card, but it can boost your confidence - because you've got the experience and the knowledge to tell why the card didn't work.

Yes, it will be scary. There will be the "What if someone made a card just like this and they feel offended that I find it a failure?", along with many other what-ifs. But no one's gained an audience of viewers and blog followers by constantly walking on eggshells and avoiding any feedback. Even the worst-case scenario is an opportunity to connect with someone and help them.

It takes a degree of bravery and a lot of confidence to share our mistakes, but I hope artists and crafters are encouraged to continue doing so. I'd love to see an entire trend of videos and blog posts that embrace mistakes and talk openly about how we learn from them.

Thanks for reading,

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