Here are four tips for rekindling your art passion:
1. Understand the power of our cultural and societal injunctions against passion
Those injunctions can easily stop you from expressing the passion you feel. We are a very buttoned-down, non-expressive, don’t-let-your-emotions-show kind of culture and everyone is infected by that cultural trance. It can feel very hard to go against the grain and act passionately in the service of your own ideas and your own projects. If you know that you are somehow inhibited by cultural messages and by the demand not to look conspicuous, try to think through what you can do to shed that cultural straightjacket.
2. Remember that passion isn’t unseemly
We have to get it out of our head that there is something wrong or unseemly about being passionate about our work, being obsessed about our work, or being in love with our work. If we are holding some mental injunction against passion or some internal lack of permission to be passionate, that will severely restrict our ability to create.
3. Remember that passion isn’t a given
You have to bring the passion – it won’t just appear by virtue of you showing up at the canvas or computer. You know how often you show up and nothing exciting, invigorating, or passionate happens – the mere getting there isn’t enough. You need to bring some enthusiasm, love, and passion with you, which you do by actively falling back in love with your project, by investing meaning in your project, by thinking thoughts that serve you, in this instance loving thoughts, and so on. Passion is not a given – you must bring it.
4. Remember that passion isn’t optional
We have very little mental energy for something that bores us, for something that barely interests us, for something whose hardness outweighs its desirability. If we hold our work as hard and think that what we need is a white-knuckled discipline to get to it, we probably won’t. If instead we hold our work as hard and as something we love and something to which we are devoted, we probably will get to it. The addition of love will make all the difference in the world.