“Once upon a time, there was a man named Jack Gilbert, who was not related to me—unfortunately for me.”
This opening line is my literary version of “You had me at hello”.
And, Elizabeth Gilbert definitely had me at hello. She has me for the rest of the book too, in fact.
From start to finish I was enraptured and wholeheartedly fascinated by her perspective of creativity + creative living.
BIG MAGIC put a spin on creativity in a way I had never quite registered before and it opened my mind and heart wide open to what I’d been missing.
I’d spent my life feeling like a non-creative type of human and then up and came this book…showing me just how wrong I had been.
My path was shifted.
But, things often seem dramatic when it comes to shifting your perspective of yourself.
From the moment I read the last line, I was and continued to settle into the creator version of myself.
Liz Gilbert gave me that gift and I will always love her, and this book, for that.
It was riding off the back of the revelations I found in Big Magic’s pages that I found the courage to start this blog, to share my magic with the world, and to continue to grow as a creator.
So, if you are looking to see yourself and your creativity in a new life, from someone who has spent her entire life on the pursuit of a creative life, I cannot recommend Big Magic enough.
I’ve read it twice…so far.
And, these are 12 of the lessons I carry with me from it:
1) YOU ARE BORN CREATIVE
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stand back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels–that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place–that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.”
Liz Gilbert highlights that to seek out and explore your creativity, to live a creative life, isn’t always easy…but it is always possible.
It isn’t a matter of whether you are creative or not, you are. It is a matter of whether you have the courage to go on the hunt for the creative jewels that lie within. And then to, in turn, pursue to nurture that magic, the gifts only you have.
There is no denying it is scary to pursue, that putting yourself out there in new ways is going to challenge you in new ways. But, there is also no denying that the most worthwhile things often are the ones that challenge us to dive deep into who we know we can be.
2) DEFINE CREATIVITY FOR YOURSELF
“When I refer to “creative living” I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”
To pursue a creative life does not mean you need to make a living from your creativity, that you need to pursue grand achievements, or acclaim of any kind really; you don’t need to quit our job to sell art or write a novel.
It’s about being curious and pursuing your interests with courage. To be courageous enough to do the things that leave you feeling light, happy…creative in your own skin. No matter what anyone else has to say about it and for no other reason than you can.
So, what are you curious about? And, how can you pursue that interest today?
3) STOP MAKING EXCUSES
“Why would I want to keep my limitations?”
Lean into your strengths. Stop making excuses for your limitations, your fears. Choose to grow, push yourself, and learn everyday. And, then choose to be proud of yourself for that.
Do not let fear run the show, dudette.
4) BUT, DO MAKE SPACE FOR FEAR
“Creativity is a path for the brave, yes, but it is not a path for the fearless, and it’s important to recognize the difference. Bravery means doing something scary. Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means.”
Being fearless is a lie. It isn’t about being fearless.
It’s about accepting your fear and then going about your creative endeavours anyway. Fear is a natural human instinct designed to protect you, so don’t hate on it. Just learn to recognize it and to live your life alongside it.
5) CHANGE YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS
“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes and failures.”
What if you changed the way you viewed your successes?
What if instead of measuring it by your income or clients acquired or articles published, you measured the number of days in a row that you sat down and tried? The number of times you hit publish when it scared you to do so?
Those are the things that now leave me feeling proud and satisfied.
What does that look like to you?
6) IT’S NOT ALL FLOW
“Most of my writing life consists of nothing more than unglamorous discipline labor. I sit at my desk and I work like a farmer, and that’s how it gets done. Most of it is not fairy dust in the least. But sometimes it is fairy dust.”
There is this image of creative genius that eludes to the idea that to really create great things you must do so when the “inspiration strikes” or when you are in flow. And, while there is no denying, as Liz states, that there are times where the magic will strike, more often than not, a creation is born out of effort and commitment.
So do not wait for inspiration to strike, go out and find it.
7) LIGHTEN UP
“Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants to lead you. Keep in mind that for most of history people just made things, and they didn’t make such a big freaking deal of it.”
Creating something doesn’t need to mean anything or do anything other than make you happy. So don’t forget to just create for the hell of it sometimes.
It’s ok to just let it be about you bringing an idea to life, however it wants to come to life.
8) YOU ARE THE ORIGINAL PART
“Share whatever you are driven to share. If it’s authentic enough, believe me–it will feel original.”
In the world we live in today, it is highly unlikely that the idea you have, the course you want to create, the article you want to write is going to be a100% novel idea. Don’t worry so much about being original and worry more about being yourself.
If you express yourself 210% as you are and you show up that same way throughout all your creative endeavours, you will stand-out to those that need to hear what YOU have to say, the way YOU want to say it.
9) LET IT BE ABOUT YOU
“Your own reason to create are reason enough. Merely by pursuing what you love, you may inadvertently end up helping us plenty.”
We are often coached to make sure we are being of service to our audience, clients, the world…the create with that intention.
When maybe what we should perhaps be doing is creating from the place that lights us up and trust that that will be enough to touch the lives of others?
10) YOUR EXPERIENCES=YOUR EDUCATION
“Take an honest inventory of the education you already have–the years you have lived, the trials you have endured, the skills you have learned along the way.”
Not everything can or should be learned in a book.
Open your eyes to the world around you and to the endless lessons you have rolling around your heart and mind. Seek out new experiences, learn new things, live in new ways. But, more importantly, share those lessons, those experiences. Share your perspective, whatever that looks like to you.
We want to see, hear, experience it alongside you.
11) HATERS ARE ALWAYS GOING TO HATE
“It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.” – W.C Fields
You do not need anyone’s permission or blessing to create. Let people think whatever they are going to think about you and your creative endeavours, and then continue to do your thing.
Answer to who you want to be and to what you are called to create.
12) RELEASE YOUR WORK
“At some point, you really just have to finish your work and release it as it– if only so that you can go on to make other things with a glad and determined heart. Which the entire point. Or should be.”
It is easy to feel as though there is always work to be done on the work, that you have yet to make it its absolutely best. But, remember, perfectionism is just fear in disguise.
Choose to be bigger than your fear. You may never feel ready.
Just release your magic to the world.
Life is yours to create, so write the story of your damn dreams.
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