Riding the wave of creative enthusiasm

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

While it feels great to gain competency though mastering a skill, the sensation of enthusiasm can feel even better. Instead of focusing on getting better, focus on how you feel when you’re really engaging with a project. When you loose track of time or eagerly anticipate the next opportunity to repeat the experience. Be consumed by your enthusiastic because the quality of what you make doesn’t matter. It’s about the joy you feel during the process.

The good thing about enthusiasm is it makes us want to make art more regularly, which leads to more practice, which ultimately creates improvement over time. Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project explains “Enthusiasm is more important to mastery than innate ability… because the single most important element in developing an expertise is your willingness to practice.”

Enthusiasm is something Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth discusses: “Sustained enthusiasm brings into existence a wave of creative energy, and all you have to do is ‘ride the wave.’ While riding the wave of enthusiasm feels good, Tolle warns that “enthusiasm cannot be in a continuous state.” It’s okay if you’re not feeling so inspired on certain days, it’s all part of cycle.

You can’t sustain a peak level of enthusiasm consistently for prolonged periods (our minds need to recharge in order to come back refreshed), but when you feel the wave approaching, get ready to ride it until it’s over.

Anticipate, savour, express, recall

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

Is there a way you turn up the volume up your positive experiences? How about when it comes to your art making practice? Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project suggests “To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.”

Applying this to an art making practice could look like the following:

Anticipe: scheduling ahead of time a space to make art and seeing it as a reward to look forwards to. Marking the date in your calendar so there’s a visual reminder leading up to it.

Savour: laying out our pens, paper, tools carefully. Sharpening your pencil slowly. Focusing on the feeling of making marks and what you experience in your body. Put on your favourite music, podcast or audio book if you enjoy having an audio backdrop when making art.

Express: writing down how it felt during the process. Bullet points, single words or a more lengthy explanation of how it felt. Telling someone else about your experience. Making another piece of art to express how you felt.

Recall: reviewing your art at a later date to recall the memory of making it. Rereading any notes you made about the experience.