When a teeny tiny little spark of an idea pops into your head out of nowhere, sending shivers down your spine, giving you seemingly boundless energy and excitement that compels you to leap to your feet and immediately DO this thing - to blow on that spark so it ignites lest it extinguish forever - that is MAGIC. Inspiration - whether divine, spiritual, or inspirational fairy dust - is undeniably BIG MAGIC.
Sadly, for many creative-types somewhere along the way - maybe at the beginning when there is only that tiny spark or maybe towards the end when there is a roaring fire - a many-headed monster comes swooping in and snuffs creativity out. That creative-magic-murdering monster is fear.
The one face of fear we all recognize has us shaking in our boots, stomach whirling, heart racing, leaving us paralyzed to do anything because we are just too scared. But fear shows itself in other ways such as guilt, procrastination, perfectionism, distraction, and other such lame and/or legitimate excuses.
In her new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert discusses how to embrace the inexplicable magic of creativity and banish fear (at the very least, to the backseat). Big Magic oozes with the honest, endearing, comical, and down-to-earth beautiful grace that is Elizabeth Gilbert (Or, Liz as I call her in my head -- the kindred spirit that spoke each word of this book directly to me).
Here are a few little bits of advice Liz whispered to me in the book:
- My very being is perfectly designed to live in collaboration with inspiration.
- I don't need a permission slip to live a creative life (but, in case, I do she scribbled one just for me).
- My soul has been waiting for me to wake up to my own existence for years.
- There are no requirements for creativity (like a specific education or life experience).
- I am creatively legitimate by my mere existence.
- Done is better than good.
- Be a self-disciplined half-ass.
- Put my work forward in stubborn good cheer again and again and again.
- Some people will like it. Some people won't. Make my art anyway and they can go make their own f*ing art.
- Don't ask my creativity to earn a living for me.
- Maybe one day I'll get lucky. Or not. No pressure. No guarantees.
- Getting a job doesn't mean I'm a failure, it means I'm a grown-up.
- Put my work out there in the world knowing that failure or success is irrelevant.
- It matters enormously, and it doesn't matter at all.
- It is sacred. And it's not.
- Just get back to work. Have fun.