I need to accept that I will never be perfect.
Last week, I finished recording “Goodbye,” at Willie Martinez’s studio. This was only the second song that I have recorded for my debut album, “Temptation,” but I realized, if I don’t change my attitude, creating my first album will be more difficult than it needs to be.
I have always wanted to be perfect. Ask me to do something, and I will put all of my energy toward making sure that it is done just right. It’s so much easier when someone asks me to do something because he/she can tell me if what I have done is good or not.
With my music, I have to determine what is good enough. This is really hard, if not impossible for me.
When I recorded my first song, “Like They All Did,” the recording process took much longer than I had expected. This was all my fault. During the recording process, after I listened to what I had just recorded, I would immediately want to rerecord in order to make it better. But some of things I deemed imperfect and wanted to rerecord were things that no one else even noticed. I got too carried away with trying to be perfect.
Since “Goodbye” was written to honor the memory of my aunt and grandmother, I wanted “Goodbye” to be even more perfect than “Like They All Did.” I knew I would have problems recording the song and accepting the recorded song for this very reason. I felt more nervous recording “Goodbye” than “Like They All Did” because I wanted it to be perfect. When I listened to the finished (but unmixed) product, I felt neutral. I didn’t dislike the song, but I didn’t feel that I liked it either. I knew I would make no progress on my CD if I just stuck to the way I felt about the recorded versions of my songs. So, I decided to have others listen to the recorded song and give me their honest feedback about it.
Once I returned to the studio for mixing down “Goodbye,” I only changed the parts that others encouraged me to change. After I listened to the changes, I decided against listening to the song another time with the fear that if I listened to the song again, I would find something that wasn’t perfect.
I was proud of myself for “walking away.” I trusted those who gave me advice about the song, but I didn’t trust myself to know what sounded right.
Perfectionism is something I have always struggled with, and it’s something that many people struggle with. I found an interesting and helpful blog post by James Nara, entitled “7 Ways to Better Deal with Your Perfectionist Nature.” It discusses the pros and cons of being a perfectionist, and it also offers ways to deal with perfectionism. Two tips that I found very helpful were “Lower Your Expectations” and “Know When to Stop.”
I’m really going to think about Nara’s 7 tips, especially the two I have mentioned above, before I return to the recording studio.
Life provides many learning opportunities. My perfectionistic personality sometimes makes achieving my goals next to impossible. I look forward to learning how to overcome this challenge.
“Once you accept that you’re not perfect, then you develop some confidence”-Rosalynn Carter
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