Get Creative with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic
I enjoy hunting for inspirational books about creativity and specifically about writing. Recently I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2015 book: Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear.
After her mega-seller, Eat Pray Love, Gilbert wrote Big Magic to discuss and promote creativity.What affects our desire to create? How can we develop as artists?
According to her, too many worry that they have lost out in the creativity stakes. They sabotage their dreams through endless self-criticism. For example:
- I have no talent, or not enough.
- I’ve left it too late, all my creativity has dried up.
- My creative work may be rejected, and then where would I be?
- I worry that I won’t find a market for my work.
- I won’t be accepted because I don’t have the right experiences or the right education.
- I fear creating something honest because it will upset others.
Gilbert suggests separating internal creativity (input) from external success (outcome). The job of writers is be actively creative. At the same time they need to accept that they cannot control success.
Gilbert provides many inspiring examples about the magic that evolves when we get serious about pursuing a creative life.
She comments that in the past, the term genius was not a personal attribute–She is a genius–but a force or spirit that helped the individual artist. Well, yes! In the 1800s, Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the writer of Walden, Henry David Thoreau, was led by his ‘muse and genius’, a dominant force that shaped his ‘opinions, conversation, studies, work, and course of life.’
For , Gilbert the ‘magic’ of creativity includes her sense that ideas actively seek a creator, such as a writer, to develop them. Odd, but she provides examples that suggest it’s crucial to develop ideas immediately when they present themselves.
To start exploring your creativity, you might start with this tough question that Gilbert poses:
What would you do even if you knew that you might fail? What do you love doing so much that words—failure, success—essentially become irrelevant?
Well worth a read.