What is good?

What Is Good? Read more at pamelapetrus.comI recently read this post and I basically want to rearrange all of the words and share the exact same things here. It’s so. good. In a response to the troubled artist, the writer tells her to stop obsessing over what others think of her work. Instead, she tells her to “Create! Call it good! Rest!”

She says:

“God created the seas. God called it good.

God created the land. God called it good.

God created the animals. God called it good.

God created light. God called it good.

God rested.”

I realized that I’ve been skipping that “good” phase. As I’m writing myself, I either over-analyze every single word or I just release it, imperfect into the wild, hoping no one sees that one. Whether they’re perfectly crafted or not, I always worry to death over how someone will take those words. What will they think? Will they misunderstand? Will they completely disagree or deduce that I’m some sort of reckless monster? I worry and stew and try to protect my art, much like the jaded artist from the post. I’m skipping the “good” phase.

The writer here says that inspiration comes to us. We get it out of us as quickly as possible. Then we “work” to finesse it. We tighten our sentences or add extra strokes. Our next step should be to “call it good” and walk away. The thought of that feels so foreign to me and brings me to my next thought.

What is good?

The first definition of the word good is “to be desired or approved of.” How fitting for this topic! If we simply followed that definition, having our own approval would be “good.” We could walk away. Instead, we tend to want to obsess over how the world will rank our work. We mull it over, keep tweaking things, and then once it’s finally released, we wait anxiously to see how it’s received. Sometimes we defend negative comments or spend time explaining our reasoning. We worry. And we don’t rest.

I began to wonder what my process would look like if I truly followed the steps above. Rather than worrying once my art is released, what if I just called it done. What if I called it good? In this case, good doesn’t have to mean perfect. It’s doesn’t have to mean accepted by all or revered by many. Good just means done. “It is good” means that the inspiration has come, work has been done, and it is finished. At that point, the product is no longer mine to obsess over. I’ve done my job. I’ve accepted the challenge, worked it out to the best of my ability, and that’s the end of my job as an artist.

Create. Call it good. And rest.

I wrote similar thoughts about painting right before reading this post. You can read those here.

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