Creatively mistake making is important, stupid and irreparable life mistakes I would advocate avoiding – but from a creative point of view mistakes have a purpose. Frequently artists will refer to their earlier career with an air of “I’m glad I did that but no way would I do it now”. They recognise the youth of their careers as time to explore, recklessly experiment and – as an outcome of this – make mistakes. It is probably important when in the early stages of a creative career to remember that fact.
Making mistakes is something we tend to be scared of, wanting our early work to be a perfect representaction of what we can do. Instead perhaps we should think of early work and the mistakes inherent in it as similar to a teenager’s stylistic choices. If you saw some of the ensembles you put together when in your teenage years I’m sure you’d pull many faces now. But at the time you were being individual, unique and forming your own style – your questionable fashion decisions were part of forming your identity. Bold and mistaken choices in the early stages of a creative career, then, are all part of forming your artistic identity.
A mistake in your ‘youth’ is useful, in the later stages of your career it’s probably just stupid. Which, by the way, isn’t to say that we should ever stop taking risks and exploring just that, hopefully, we will have learnt a lot from the creative mistakes of our youth.