Trust Yourself and Experiment

Self-doubt is a creativity killer. And so is the safe zone.

Whew, Thanksgiving was a blast this year. How was yours?

I spent October-November warming up the ol' pie crust skills until my family was begging me to stop. Who knew there was a limit to the number of pies a person can handle on a month. Personally, I just think I'm surrounded by quitters, or health-conscious, rational people...Regardless, this year's lessons after struggling with pie crusts:

Heed your notes

I write notes on my recipes to remind myself of what works/doesn't work each time I make them. In a lot of cases, they're recipes I only make once a year so there's a bit of a skills gap. Hence the month of practice before the big event. And yet for some reason I ignore my own advice. Like this year, I skip the steps I'd already developed and then after the tenth time of failure, end up discovering the trick I'd jotted down. I'd save myself a lot of time if I'd just listen to myself.

Your instincts are not wrong, go with them

Similar to the previous tip, this one is about confidence. I've been doing this whole food making and baking thing for awhile now. Maybe not at a master level but long enough to know what I'm doing, enough that I have success more often than failure. Still, the moments of doubt pop up that send me running to Google where I get lost for hours in the online arguments over what type of fat is superior for pie crusts. Once I climb back out of the rabbit hole, I'm so exhausted by information overload that I just go with what feels right. And wouldn't you know, the results are amazing. This isn't some miracle intervention, or the result of my leaning toward one method over another. I end up at a success because I fall back on my experience of having done the thing over and over throughout the years which is how I know what feels right.

Put yourself out there with something new

I'm a Pinterest type. I love exploring what others have done and then come up with something new. Often I will make a new thing a few times before making it for the big event, just in case it isn't any good. This has spared me a lot of negative feedback over the years, but it's also required a lot of time and energy I don't always have which leads to a burnout before the holiday season end. I hate that feeling. So this year I threw something out there without bothering to do a test run, and it failed. I'm okay with that, though, because I had fun experimenting and didn't have the pressure of perfection.

I think this last one is important for creative types. You work so hard to make things that sometimes you get trapped in the cycle of "is this good enough?" to the point that you lose sight of the good things you're making because they aren't perfect. Without exposing ourselves to failure, we're shutting off criticism. No one enjoys hearing how their creativity could be better, or that some just don't like it at all, but that information is useful. Cutting away the emotional aspect, you can take a look from their perspective and see if what they're saying is useful to your creative growth. Not putting yourself out there, even just for holiday baking, stunts your creative growth.

We're at mid-season of holiday baking--cookie and candy fest is coming! Feel comfortable and confident with your skills, experiment, and don't strive for perfection. The end results will be great with just a touch of the unexpected.