Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Badly

It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect –

I’ve talked about my perfectionist tendencies a few times on the blog, but talking about them doesn’t help me get over them. Doing something about them, on the other hand, does help.

Painting Desk

So, this week I knew I wanted to paint something. But I just kept thinking, and thinking, and nothing sounded fun or like the right subject. Luckily for me, all my digital photo albums are filled with screenshots. (I literally screenshot everything and anything I find inspirational.) Which means I had a lot of inspiration to look through to pique my interest.

Dirty Painting Cloth Paint Strokes

About 150 screenshots in, something finally caught my eye—a plain, handwritten quote: “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” —G.K. Chesterton. Now, I don’t know how everyone else interprets this quote, but to me it was like a nice slap to the face. (Funny how sometimes you just need one of those!)

Basically, if I’m wanting, needing, or having to do something (anything for that matter)…it doesn’t really matter if it gets done perfectly. Or even well for that matter. All that matters is that it gets done, and the task is accomplished! Of course that doesn’t mean the task is easy, no effort is needed. But it does mean, “RELAX! It will turn out fine! The job will get done!”

Sketched Quote Painted QuoteDirty Painting Water

So, in an uncharacteristic nod to “doing badly,” as the quote says, I branched out into uncharted territories. Instead of planning everything out, I just started painting and made decisions as I went. Instead of sketching out multiple versions of the quote, I just sketched it once on the canvas. (I didn’t even measure, erase, or re-do anything, say what?!) And instead of sketching out the background, I just painted everything freehand.

Honestly, this new method of “doing badly” felt very uncomfortable, because I like “doing well.” And for me, that usually means I have to know what I’m doing beforehand. Yet with this method I only knew what I was doing when I was doing it. Luckily, though, working on this project didn’t feel stressful. (Yay—liberating!)

Final Painting

To sum it up, embracing the “doing badly” mentality made painting a lot more interesting, and a lot less stressful. Oh yeah, and a lot more fun to see the final product! While it’s definitely not perfect, it was never meant to be. And maybe nothing should ever be perfect… (Too much pressure, am I right?) At least now I’m open to the idea of letting go of my perfectionist tendencies, and willing to let my creativity take me where it may!


Painting Detail

Don’t let being a plan-ahead perfectionist curb your creativity. Pick up your pen, pencil, paintbrush, or whatever tool you want, and go for it—DO BADLY. It might not be as bad as you think!



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