I am a fan of the toddler years. These years are hilarious and fascinating. Their imagination sprouts, they begin discovering, and they say things that make you wonder where on earth they came up with it. The top priority of the day is to play. Flying cars zoom by, dinosaurs roar, and tea parties emerge out of thin air.  It seems whatever comes to mind is executed, and it is completely satisfying. They are in the moment and loving it.

That level of engagement and comfort with what you put your hand to seems ideal.  Think about people who are superb at their jobs. They just make it seem easy, and often people ask how they do what they do because it seems effortless. Most times it isn’t or least wasn’t easy at one point, but they have worked to hone their craft. I’ve been known to yell at inanimate objects before (such as the TV, my phone, a speaker) demanding to know how the person just did what they did. (Did they really just catch that pass?) Especially when it just seems unexplainable. (Can I have a turn singing like that?)

There was a bit of a disconnect for me when I first started painting. The disconnect was between what I was envisioning and what I was seeing in the final product. One of these things was not like the other. Not to mention it took an enormous amount of time and effort to complete a single piece. It really did feel like much more like work than play. This was not how I wanted this to stay.

I remember the turn. I noticed I no longer had to “gear up,” so naturally the painting session experience changed. It was no longer about the time it took but rather about the piece itself. Suddenly, there was opportunity to focus on a specific element rather than just on getting to the finish line like you’re just trying to make it through some horrible workout routine or something. 

The trick in that dial turning was time. Investing time, prioritizing time, remaining consistent and persistent. And patient. Did I mention it is helpful to be patient? Finding time to prioritize can be a bit tricky but do try to find it. It might take some rearranging, but as there is a direct correlation between the time invested and the impact on results, it’s worth it. And incentivizing. 

I don’t know that everyone experiences this portion of the process, but I’m including here for what it’s worth. With anything, feeling any level of comfort with something new you are doing may not happen overnight. It may not be that anyone around you notices when things change to being less like work and there being more of an ease to it. That’s okay. It’s not about that. It’s about you going forward as best as you can.

This is probably a good time to quote my husband when talking with folks who are pursuing the arts, something he, too, is pursuing. “Do it because you want to. Do it because you love it. Don’t do it because you are trying to sell it. Enjoy the journey and the process.”

What he said.