If you have read Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest literary offering to the world Big Magic, you firstly know Liz has a certain wit, charisma and grace which transcends through her words and draws you in. Secondly, you can’t help but feel that this lady knows (like, deeply knows) how to create beyond the limits of fear and our brain’s elaborate excuses.
Over here at The Daily Guru, we’re all huge fans of Liz and think she is the real deal when it comes to living and breathing a creative life.
Today we share our five favourite lessons from her highly acclaimed and much love book Big Magic to impart more wisdom, steadfast courage and wild inspiration into your creative pursuits.
As Liz puts it, “All I can tell you for certain is that my entire life has been shaped by an early decision to reject the cult of artistic martyrdom, and instead to place my trust in the crazy notion that my work loves me as much as I love it – that it wants to play with me as much as I want to play with it – and that this source of love and play is boundless.”
Without further ado:
Ideas are buzzing and circulating within and around us every single moment of every single day. When an idea hits you (you know the feeling – that onslaught of excitement, peaked emotions, butterflies in the belly, can.not.sleep.if.I.tried), if you don’t take action and follow through (even with miniature baby steps), the idea will eventually interpret that to mean that you’re not interested and seek are more willing and formidable partner.
“When an idea thinks it’s found somebody—say, you—who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit. It will try to get your attention. Mostly, you will not notice. This is likely because you’re so consumed by your own dramas, anxieties, distractions, insecurities, and duties that you aren’t receptive to inspiration. You might miss the signal because you’re watching TV, or shopping, or brooding over how angry you are at somebody, or pondering your failures and mistakes, or just generally really busy.”
So, are you paying attention to your ideas?
This is what Liz nicknames ‘The Road Trip’. She paints the picture. You’re driving and you have creativity sitting in the front seat next to you and fear is getting cozy in the back. When you embark on a new creative adventure, creativity and fear go hand in hand – that’s just how it works, but you have the power to decide who is steering the wheel.
“There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognise and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activity—but still—your suggestions will never be followed.”
She ends by saying to fear, “But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”
Simply because you are here, alive and breathing, you are entitled to living a creative life. Everyone is. There’s no reason to justify your creativity. This entitlement Liz talks of is not arrogant. It stems from an understanding that we all deserve the right and opportunity to make stuff in this lifetime because that is what we are here to do: create.
“Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”
Take the pressure off your creativity to earn you a descent living. Bite the bullet and get a day job (or a night one). Liz has worked in pubs, cafes, on horse ranches and taught at university while writing her books on the side. Don’t put so much pressure on your creativity to perform and rake in the mula!
“But don’t count on the payoff, I beg of you—only because such payoffs are exceedingly rare, and you might very well kill off your creativity by holding it to such a harsh ultimatum.”
This is a big one. So while your creative project has been brought into this world by you, it is by no means your ‘baby’. Don’t be disillusioned. Instead, think of it like this:
“Your creative way is not your baby; if anything, you are its baby. Everything I have ever written has brought me into being. Every project has matured me in a different way. I am who I am today precisely because of what I have made and what it has made me into.”
Creativity is for everyone, despite money, critics and circumstances. It is your right to create and here for the taking! Let it be fun, enjoy the process and tell fear it can stick around, but by no means is it going to drive.
P.S. Another golden nugget from Liz. Done is better than perfect!