Before delving in to chapter nine of The Artist’s Way, I want to pause to thank you, my readers. Without your loyalty and encouragement there wouldn’t be much point in continuing to write this blog. I hope you are benefitting as much from reading it as I am from writing it.
Discipline vs. Enthusiasm
Week nine on the path to higher creativity leads us to recovering a sense of compassion. Compassion for whom? For yourself–your inner artist, the child who’s afraid to come out and play. If you are anything like me, you may beat yourself up for not working more, not having more discipline. That’s why when I read, “being an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline,” (p. 153) it was a liberating concept for me.
“Enthusiasm (from the Greek, ‘filled with God’) is an ongoing energy supply tapped into the flow of life itself. Enthusiasm is grounded in play, not work.” (p. 153) More on that thought in a minute.
I have found that, when I allow myself to dream and start to nourish those dreams by taking steps to fulfill them, dreams tend to grow. My imagination takes flight and the dream gets bigger than me. And I get scared. “I can’t do that!” My mind balks at the prospect looming before me, and I take a creative U-turn.
Often what causes me to turn back from the path I’m on, or to back away from a project is looking too far ahead, trying to comprehend the complete picture. In other words, getting ahead of myself. Remember the concepts of taking baby steps and filling in the form?
I am learning, though, that by narrowing my focus to take that next little step, to complete the next task on the “to do” list, I can slowly make my way into the bigger picture. Creative U-turns may be a necessary part of growing as an artist, but remember, two U-turns make a complete 360 and put you back on the right path.
So don’t beat yourself up if you feel the need to back off and turn around. Show yourself some compassion. Gather strength, buck up your courage, but most of all, find the joy again. What made you enthusiastic for that project in the first place? Go back to that point, pick up the missing piece, turn around and start walking again.
Enthusiasm breeds discipline. It creates “the irresistible surge of will.” Find the passion, the fire. Discipline will follow, and U-turns will become a thing of the past.
What stops you in your tracks and makes you want to turn around? How do you maintain the enthusiasm to stay on your creative path?