The universe buries strange jewels deep within us, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.
It’s weird how books come into your life.
With Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, it was all about the cover. That cheerful explosion of bright colours drew me in. Her words refused to let me go.
It was like she was speaking directly to me, giving me the courage to tame my fears and follow my creative path.
Here are my 4 biggest takeaways from the book:
1. Let Fear Come Along For The Ride – But DON’T let it drive
Creativity is uncertain. You can’t tell for sure you’ll create an epic masterpiece that’ll be loved for all time. And that scares the crap out of fear.
Fear hates uncertain outcomes. Either it knows for sure you’ll succeed or it’ll come up with all sorts of excuses on why you shouldn’t even try.
You can kill fear off. But, chances are, you’ll kill your creativity off, too.
There’s a better way. Let fear come along for the ride, but don’t let it drive.
Let fear give you feedback, but don’t listen to it.Let fear sit in the backseat, but let your creativity take the wheel. You’ll never do anything interesting or exciting if you don’t. Let fear come along for the ride, but don't let it drive. Let creativity take the wheel instead.Click To Tweet
2. Give Yourself Permission To Create
Your parents may think you playing in clubs at weekends is a waste of your time.
Your friends may resent you can’t go out to dinner with them because you have to finish your book.
Your neighbours may think it weird you want to be a painter when everyone else in town is getting a safe job at the bank.
So, what?You don't need anyone's permission to live a creative life. Do you like playing? Can you think of nothing better to do with your time than writing your book? Does even the thought of sitting down to paint fills your heart with delight?
Do it. Do it for the love. Create for the sheer pleasure of creating. It’s nobody’s business but your own.
3. Love Over Fear, Always
Art isn’t suffering. You don’t make beautiful, meaningful art because you’re doing drugs, drink yourself into a stupor every night and you’re too depressed to leave the house.You make beautiful, meaningful art DESPITE of it. If you can do that when you’re suffering, can you imagine how much better your art will be when you’re thriving?
Don’t be that artist who dies with most of its treasures still buried within because her addictions drove her to an early grave.
Don’t trust your demons. They’ll plunge you into the depths of despair and leave you to rotten.
Trust your angels. Let them uplift your imagination to new heavenly heights.Choose love over suffering, always.
4. Don’t Demand Your Art To Pay Your Bills
That’s the dream, isn’t it?
But you can’t just sit down to write and expect to pen the next Harry Potter straight away. Forcing yourself to will only suck all the joy and creativity out of it.
Creativity is unpredictable. It can take years before you can dedicate yourself wholly to your art.
So, keep your day job. Let that fuel your creativity.
Do what you need to do to pay the bills and after work, sit down and create.
Without the worry of where your next paycheck is coming from.
Without the guilt of not being able to send your kid to summer camp.
Without the stress of creating a masterpiece that will turn your life around.
That’s when you create your best work, anyway.
Over to you now. Have you read Big Magic? If so, what are your biggest takeaways?