Before reading Big Magic, I was in a creative funk. I wanted to draw and paint, but I didn’t know what to make. So I would troll the internet for inspiration, decide that everyone is already better than me, and then go watch Netflix instead. It was so depressing! But with a tool to compare yourself to everyone around the world (aka the internet), it’s hard not to get discouraged. Here is a drawing that I started oh ya know… THREE YEARS AGO that I have kept unfinished purely for fear of it sucking.
But honestly, reading Big Magic changed my view on the way I approach and finish creative projects.
“We must live our most creative lives as a means of fighting back against the ruthless furnace of this world.”
Elizabeth Gilbert’s approach to creative work is bizarre and amazing, because she believes that inspiration lives independently from one’s self. She believes creative work doesn’t come purely from an individual, but the collaboration of human efforts and an invisible “creative genius” that either shows up to help with the project or doesn’t. I know what you’re thinking. That’s insane. And yes, it kind of is. But it’s also refreshing and liberating! Because if my work sucks, I can blame it partially on my creative genius for not showing up to help me work that day. If you are super not sold on this, watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk on creativity, Your Elusive Creative Genius.
“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
This book has inspired me to stay dedicated to my work even when I am not satisfied with it. She also believes in following creativity’s lead. No need to have one burning passion, just the desire to playfully explore any hobbies that sound interesting. Whether it is knitting a scarf, writing poetry, taking a pottery class, anything of even a mild interest – follow it.
“Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”
After reading Big Magic, I dusted off my sketchbook, played this song on repeat for no particular reason and literally forced myself to finish my ancient Buddha statue drawing. I had to remind myself constantly that no matter the outcome, done is better than perfect.
To be honest, I could point out a hundred flaws in this drawing. But what the hell! I finished it. I already bought a frame for it and I am going to hang it up above my night stand as a reminder to live my most creative life.