Five Mistakes Creatives MUST Make

As creatives, we learn in the process the “trial and error” but do we actually embrace the error part? Many of us have a perfectionist tendency which loathes not just error, but anything that can be called an error. Foul balls don’t count in baseball, so why do they in the creation process? Learning to be comfortable with your mistakes does not mean settling for something less than excellent. It means being human. Here is the list:

Go for it without all the resources: Yes, that guitar pedal might help your recording session, or that extra time off you hoped for would have made room for writing, but you have what you have. Make the mistake of attempting your best work when you might have less than you need. You never know, you might creative genius work.

Listen to the committee: A committee can kill creativity, and sometimes the only way to seal the deal is to actually hold your nose and do your job. If you are a graphic designer, it might be possible to allow Comic Sans for once. It will either teach you that you can make ugly work, or to never work for a committee again. Either way, you are still creating.

Do it for yourself: Any art work public consumption means serving others. But, there needs to be a break in your professional routine to actually do something you love. So, you write a song in 7/4 meter or paint something extremely abstract or even put spices in your dish so hot that only you can muster eating it. You learn what you love, then get bored of yourself or find out some of what you love might spice up the mundane stuff you create.

Finish too early: When is a project actually done? With art, that can be ambiguous to say the least. So, why not make a point of just saying “done” and moving on? What you learn is that you either undercooked the meat or over-baked the cake. Only in actually ending things before you feel comfortable is when you see missed potential or accidental genius.

Do everything opposite: Live in the shoes of the guy who creates opposite to how you create. If he draws up a plan, then copy that process. You never know, you might learn how to improve on your own process. Or, you might learn that you should never do it like the other guy. Either way, you can move on!

Trial and error is the best way to constantly hone your creative process. If you were a factory, you could program a machine. But, you are a craftsman who most likely creates custom experiences, art, or product for others. So, go make some mistakes.

Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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