On intimidation and failure

Last weekend I was reading the craftiness folder in my blog reader, and as I caught up on everyone’s blogs I noticed I didn’t feel encouraged, or impressed; I felt overwhelmed, intimidated and like a fake. I started to feel inferior to all these great blogs with all these great projects, and I didn’t want to go to my sewing room and sew – I wanted to never sew again.

A funny thing happened about last Friday’s post. I had this great plan to make the plum sauce and share this cool recipe with you all, and maybe a picture of my newly-filled canning jar. Then I actually tried to make the stuff, and it all went to hell in a hand basket. I thought, well, forget that plan. Then, in a moment of actual insight, I realized that a post about how it all didn’t work could be just as interesting as the perfect post I had planned. After all, I’m not the first person who’s cooked something that didn’t work out. (In fact, it happened again last night – I made banana bread and took it out of the oven when it looked and smelled done, only to have the middle ooze all over the counter when I put it on the cooling rack. It still tasted good. It was kinda like a banana version of molten chocolate cake, actually.)

I need to get better at failure. More than that, I need to get better at being less than perfect at things. Maybe I need to get better at listening less to other people, at judging my efforts by other people’s. I get stuck in this trap of perfection a lot, and I don’t think it makes me do better work; it makes me do less work and more inhibited work. I know it doesn’t make me happy.

It’s not surprising that most of us write blog posts about the things we completed, and the things we did well. We talk about our successes, and less about our failures; it’s just human nature to want others to be impressed with us and our work. It’s one of the ways that a blog, or any online presence, can be somewhat misleading – we can tell the story we want to tell, and it’s not untrue, but it’s not the whole unvarnished truth either.

I think I want to tell the truth, even if it makes me sound like an idiot who can’t cook plums or make banana bread or sew anything more complicated than a t-shirt. I think it would be better for me, and who knows, you might like reading it too.

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