It’s easy to be distracted by negative thoughts around the quality and skill when making art. A voice in your head may tell you there’s no point trying if you can’t get it right. Or you’re wasting time so go do something productive instead. If you pay attention to these thoughts, they may convince you to give up making art altogether. So how can we get from being disappointed with our art-making to experiencing the joy of making, which is the main reason to make art?
Ekhart Tolle in The Power of Now suggests “do not be concerned with the fruit of your action — just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord.” When making art, focus on the movement of your hand, the way it feels in your body as you make marks. Improvement and growth will come but it’s not where your attention should be. “This is a powerful spiritual practice. In the Bhagavad Gita, one of the oldest and most beautiful spiritual teachings in existence, nonattachment to the fruit of your action is called a Karma Yoga. It is described as the path of “consecrated action.”
Being nonattached to the outcome of making art allows you to get in touch with the joyful aspects of making art. The joy in the journey of making art, the sensation of pen on paper, the feeling of being absorbed in a task where time stops, the feeling of satisfaction due to slowing down and giving yourself a break from everyday tasks and duties and of reconnecting with yourself.
If you stop judging your art on face value and instead give attention to the action of making art, you can experience the power of your hidden creativity.