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How To Handle Creative Disasters

How To Handle Creative Disasters

Eric Maisel

Hello, Dr. Maisel:

Last week I finished a painting and it was an unmitigated disaster. There was nothing about it I liked! Do you have any hints for dealing with situations like this where the thing you just finished is a complete wreck? -Raphael J., San Francisco

Thanks, Raphael.

If you had high hopes for your current painting and it turned out so poorly that the only word that comes to mind is “disaster,” what can you do to deal with the angst welling up in you? Here are ten tips that will help!

1. Mind your language

Is it really necessary to call it a “disaster”? How does it serve you to use such a harsh word on something you created with genuine love and real sweat? How do words like disaster, failure, mess or mistake help you? You are in charge of the language you use and employing the most self-disparaging language available can’t be a good idea!

2. Instantly forgive yourself

All right, something unfortunate happened. You can pile a ton of guilt and an extra thousand pounds of regret on your back because of this unfortunate occurrence or you can forgive yourself right now, without a moment’s hesitation, before the weight of your guilt and regret drop you to your knees. Self-forgiveness is not the same as not owning your part in what you’ve wrought — rather, it is simple kindness and the only way to guarantee second chances.

Next: Engage in Self-Support →


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