In last week’s post about embracing the uncomfortable, I mentioned the book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is actually the 2nd time I have read it. I read it right when it came out in the fall, or more accurately I listened the the audiobook. However, I wanted to read it again because I found it inspiring and realized that when I listened to it as an audiobook, I missed many opportunities to stop and write down ideas and inspiration from it because I was driving while listening to it.
Anyway, you should read Big Magic. Gilbert is an entertaining writer and it is packed with helpful information.
Technically this is a self-help book. That gives me pause. I’m stubborn enough to believe I don’t need anyone’s help. I also tend to think that self help books are ridiculous and state the obvious. Maybe this book is better than most, or maybe creative living is not as obvious to me as it is to others. There is nothing in this book that I stopped and thought “this is a revelation!” But, it is the way in which Gilbert writes that is a revelation. I found that there were many thoughts on creativity that Gilbert described that I have had similar thoughts on, but her ability to express those ideas is far superior to my own. So, just read the book.
If, for some reason, you still aren’t planning on reading this book, here are a few of my favorite takeaways and some actionable steps to take today:
Gilbert discusses how ideas exist in the world, swirling around us until we agree to claim them.(see my sketchnote from last week for more details). Ideas are there for the taking, we just have to be brave enough and persistent enough to see them though.
What idea of yours would make you feel awful if you woke up one day and saw that someone else had gotten to it first?
Gilbert (like many others ) tries to end the myth that creativity is reserved for artists and the like. She states that if you are alive, you are a creative person. You do not need permission from anyone to live a creative life. Don’t try to compare your creativity to anyone else’s. Define yourself as a creative person. Then, say it aloud: I’m a singer, I’m a painter, I’m a baker, etc.
Fill in the blank. I am a ________________________________________________________.
Gilbert discusses the paradox of how art/creative work is both meaningless and deeply meaningful. Her take on it is that is has to be this way for you to be in a place that you can create. My take is that creative work can be meaningless to everyone else in the world and that is okay as long as it is meaningful to you. If it doesn’t mean something to you, what’s the point? And if it doesn’t mean anything to anyone else, who cares? It’s not for them anyway. It’s for you.
What would you create/make/start/do if you had tons of extra time and weren’t afraid of what anyone would say or think? Oh, you don’t have all the time in the world and you do care what people think? Do it anyway. Start on it today.
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