I have just finished reading Big Magic (Creative Living Beyond Fear) by Elizabeth Gilbert. I would like to share with you why you should read it, too.
1. If you keep hearing, “Follow your passion” but you do not know what the hell your actual passion is! Liz explains that it is an overly-used sentence given to young people at graduations, etc. to help inspire and give direction. But, no. This does not work if you are not exactly sure what your “passion” is. Instead, follow your curiosity! It is your curiosity that will lead you to what your passions actually are. Whether big or small, if you have just a figment of curiosity to try something different – do it! Try a new restaurant. Try an art class. Try yoga before work in the morning. Seriously, the world is your oyster! During that art class, you may find out that (oh-em-gee) you are a spectacular painter. If it doesn’t work out or you feel a different hint of curiosity coming on, then go there! Do that. Follow the gift within yourself that is curiosity.
2. If you feel like you are living a boring 9-5 life and feel super BLAH on the regular. The beauty about being human beings, Ms. Gilbert explains, is that we are naturally creative. It is engrained in us to bring Big Magic to the world. The universe is filled with ideas that come to us as individuals on a constant basis. What you need to do is listen to these ideas and by golly follow that intriguing curious thought in your head! Elizabeth used an example in the book about herself, she took up gardening. She ended up becoming more and more curious about the flowers that she was growing and through this, ended up figuring out what her next book would be because she followed that little sprout (pun-intended) of curiosity. The book she created, “The Signature of all Things” ended up being named the best book of 2013 by The New York Times and gained tons of recognition. All because she took up a random hobby and listened to herself. The point is, if you are tired of your one-dimensional life of blah, you can change that. Just follow your curiosity and pick up a hobby that you have always wanted to try. It can be anything that brings your mind to a different (and happy) place that will allow inspiration to flow right in! It may not lead you to write a book, but it will lead you to a more fulfilled life of passionate creating!
3. If you are a writer or are curious about becoming a writer, please read this book. Although I simply dabble with writing (mostly blogs), I definitely took interest in learning about some of Elizabeth Gilbert’s processes of writing (like the gardening story). What you need to know as a writer, is that you do not have to be a “struggling artist” or have the stigma of being all angsty and depressed in order to produce interesting and valuable work. In fact, you need to be writing only if it is fun! Why do it if you are just terribly angry that you cannot seem to write anything that is any good? What is “good” anyway? That is not (and should not) be the reason you write. You need to write because you enjoy it as a creative outlet. Ms. Gilbert warns to stick to your day job and use writing as an amazingly expressive escape from reality. If you rely on it for a paycheck and give everything up to pursue the dream of becoming an esteemed writer, you are probably setting yourself up for failure. If you do not enjoy the process of writing, then…don’t do it.
4. If you are into the arts. As an aspiring actress, a lover of drawing and painting, obsessed with photography, and a non-stop dancing queen, this book rang a bell in my noggin. On a creativity scale of 1-100, I am at LEAST a 98. It’s just who I am. I’m always looking for an imaginative way to express myself. So again, this book was a great push to use this and not let it go to waste. Going back to the notion that all humans are creative beings, you can fall anywhere on the scale from 1-100. But that’s okay because no matter what degree of creative you think you are, you can be so much more, simply by doing something new and listening to the ideas that you may have been pushing away for years. This is why I love people like Justin Timberlake (love you, JT). He is a quadruple threat. He loves to write, sing, dance and act. He shares his gifts with the world. Ms. Gilbert uses James Franco as her example. He does whatever the hell he wants because he is a creative being and does what feels good to him. This ranges anywhere from texting a random fan from his Instagram following (lol) to becoming a teacher at NYU. How can you not love Mr. James Franco? Well, lets just say these two dudes have followed their curiosities and we get to be the lucky people that enjoy the outcomes of their creative outlets. Many are diehard fans of these guys, yet others do not approve of their use of certain projects that they get their hands on.
5. If you are scared of rejection. If you are creating works of art to solely gain popularity and praise, then you are doomed. Since celebrity lives are utterly fascinating to me, I will use Taylor Swift as an example on this one (I love you, Tay Tay). Ms. Swift has seemed to recently become the music industry. She has persevered almost her whole life to make music and inspire the world with her magical lyrics. She is a huge success and has actually made this creative outlet a (very high) paying job. But, guess what? There are people that actually do not approve of her music (GASP). If the critics had halted her creative outlet, there would be no Shake It Off (ugh, I cannot even). Tay Tay followed her curiosity of seeing if she would be a successful pop star after having years of contentment in the country world. She tries new things with different collaborators and even her whole style of music. Do you think she did this asking all of her fans if it’s okay? Hell nahh! The only person you should seek creative advice from is yourself. If you are worried that others will disapprove and you will become a failure if it doesn’t work out, you need to stop that! Gilbert explains in Big Magic that when you receive negative feedback or a rejection letter from a publisher after you have worked for years on a book – you keep going. Keep sending the book out there. Or keep singing what is inspiring to you! Keep doing what makes you happy. There will be people that may fall in love with your work. You may become the next Taylor Swift. You may become the next Elizabeth Gilbert. Or hey, you may not become a celebrated entertainer of the world. You may not ever sell 1,000,000,000+ albums. But that is okay because the point of creating art in any form is to use it as an outlet; to feel great about it. NOT to be praised. Every person is unique so it is important that whatever you do, you need to share it with the world. These are your gifts! Do the world a favor and share it! Please. There will be people that will hardcore love what you do and there will be people that hardcore think you are absolutely ridiculous. The critics do not even care about you, people are too concerned with themselves anyhow. If you do things to prove to everyone that you are nothing short of amazing, then you need to start re-thinking your life.
Clearly, I gained inspiration from Big Magic. The first idea that came to my mind while reading this book was to write about it (this very blog post). I enjoyed reading this book and I enjoy writing about it to recap some of the inspirations that I have grasped from Ms. Elizabeth Gilbert.
I am going to stop rejecting the silly ideas in my head and instead use them in creative ways. And I will share them with the world, whether ya’ll like it or not.
I hope you do, too!
Please feel free to leave comments about what resonated with you the most in Big Magic and if you had any lightbulb moments during your read. I’d be interested to hear 🙂