My most recent Audible read is “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”** by Elizabeth Gilbert, who also wrote the wildly successful “Eat, Pray, Love.” In this book, Gilbert discusses creativity, how we should approach it, and how she and others have found inspiration/creativity. I consider myself to be creative as well. I enjoy writing, photography and blogging in my “free” time. I find any minute I can for my creativity, like a person having an affair does for his or her lover. (This is an analogy she uses in her book, by the way.) I finished “Big Magic” this week, taking with me many key lessons about creativity:
Looking for creativity? Search for it. Write or create what you know. Meet people, travel and have many different experiences. Be curious about anything and everything and pursue your curiosities.
Keep working despite rejection. Never stop moving. If you fail, move on. Don’t dwell on your failures.
The reward is the work, not the money. Do what you love, because it is not about the success in the form of money, it’s about doing something you enjoy for the pure joy of creating it. Also forget about how people will react to your work. As Gilbert says, “The reaction doesn’t belong to you.” The outcome does not matter. You are still worthy no matter what the reaction.
“Forget about perfect.” Done is better than perfect, in Gilbert’s words. There is no use in holding back your talents from the world until your work is beyond criticism. It will never be. You can’t control how people feel about your work.
And one of the most important lessons I took away from “Big Magic” is that you should not expect your creativity to pay the bills. That puts too much pressure on yourself and asks too much of creativity. In fact, Gilbert suggests working as much as you have to in order to pay for your creative endeavors. That is refreshing to hear, especially as someone who has to write and blog on her free time — funded by my full-time job. Of course, if someday you can make a living solely with your creative endeavor, that’s great, but Gilbert herself kept her job long after writing “successful” books.