This summer I read “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I heard about it from my two favorite podcasters Rana Campbell of Dreams in Drive and Aileen Xu of Lavendaire Lifestyle. When I began reading it, I thought it started off really slow. But then I quickly became inspired and hooked. The two ideas that stuck with me since I returned the book to the library was that one, not to make your work your baby and two, creativity is like a spirit.
I was surprised when I read that we shouldn’t make our work our baby. Most of the time, in order to encourage ourselves to not neglect but work patiently on our crafts we remind each other that the work is our “baby”. My brand, blog, projects are all my babies screaming for milk, getting into everything, need a bath, desperate for love. No, Elizabeth Gilbert told me (well she didn’t know she did), my brand, blog and projects were just that- brand, blog and projects. Yes, they do need attention, however, making them your baby would make you too attached to them. The worry that they would be criticized would one, make you take things to personally and two, it would aid in procrastination. It was a confusing yet liberating thought for me. It encouraged me to just “do it” whether it be writing, making that phone call or making that breakfast. No my brand, blog and projects are not screaming in the middle of the night because they are teething but it is in fact waiting patiently at the front door for me to get my car keys. These plans and dreams are just waiting for me to put the effort to show them the world and the world and meet with them.
Creativity is a spirit who knocks on the door of your mind and asks for permission to partner with you. This is what I’ve understood from Gilbert’s writing. As I thought about it deeper I couldn’t agree more. She tells a story of an idea she had for a book about a woman who goes to Brazil. Admittedly, I don’t remember the details (I returned that book a few months ago) however, I do remember that after doing so much research on it and forgetting about it for a while because of family issues, she felt as though the idea left her. She couldn’t explain it- yes, all her notes were there- but, the idea, that spirit wasn’t. So she met with a friend and as they talked her friend mentioned an idea that she was excited about. After the friend explained the story in detail it was almost exactly like Gilbert’s idea! She never told her, nor did the friend see her notes. The differences were only slight. After reading that section of the story it made me more excited about my ideas. Yet, I became more urgent. I knew that if I didn’t complete a certain project someone else will. Shout out to Mordecai telling his niece, Queen Esther, to get her life and defend her country!
I would certainly recommend Big Magic to anyone. It’s thought provoking and makes you look at creativity was an energy not a burden. So get the struggling artist notion out your head!