Trial and Error – Why the Journey is Important!

Over the years, I have learned a lot about the creative process. First, it’s a journey and along the way, there are stumbles, falls, surprises, successes, and failures. Stopping midway through the creative journey leads to missed opportunities.

Recently, I was working on a design team project for the Hedgehog Hollow and I got stuck on a card design. I couldn’t figure out how to create a project using the products I was given. I spent about two hours making cards, trying different techniques, testing products, only to throw way about a third of what I was making.

Trash can filled with misfit projects!

Then it happened…I made a card that was actually pretty decent! It took several tries, a bit of frustration, a tiny bit of creative doubt, and a whole lot of trial and error. But I did it. Hooray!

Victoria Marie Designs for the Hedgehog Hollow (2020)

Roughly seven cards later, this was the finished product (see above). Had I not worked through the process of trial and error, trusted the creative journey, I would not have gotten to this point.

Below are photos of some of my past projects that took a while to complete. Through trial and error, I was able to work through the creative process to produce a finished product.

“Favorite Selfie” – Completed after 2 attempts.
“Color Me Happy” – Three days later…I finally got it!
“Cool in the Pool” – The shaker element in the word “cool” tripped me up!

Why Does this Matter?

The expectation that we should be able to go from point A to point Z of the creative process can be a bit self-defeating! We compare ourselves to artists who’s projects appear to come together so easily, as if their creative process is flawless and magical.

(Spoiler alert – it’s not!)

What we sometimes do not see is the trash can filled with projects gone awry. What we don’t see are the multiple attempts at trying something new or working through a creative block. We ALL go through this…even the most seasoned scrapbooker has been stuck a time or two (or more)!

The urge to give up is strong. Self-doubt creeps in and we say to ourselves, “I just can’t do this.”

But friend…we can.

The journey from point A to Z is where the good stuff is! The creative process gives us room to experiment, find out what works and what doesn’t. We make adjustments and try again. We get frustrated and walk away. And then we come back and experiment some more. We work through the learning curves, and with each step, we add more information and skills to our knowledge base.

At the end of the journey, we often walk away victorious, or if we do fail, we can celebrate the fact that we are much more informed at the end of the process than we were at the beginning.

THIS is why trial and error matters.

The next time you are working through a tough creative challenge, remember that the process is just as important as the outcome. It is through the creative process that we learn, grow, and develop our skills. If you don’t know how to do something, find a resource and get crackin’!

Don’t be afraid of the journey. Embrace trial and error…you’ll be glad that you did.