Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert has undoubtedly resonated with and inspired creatives of all types, and for good reason. The topics she discusses are applicable to most of us, whether you’re a creative or not, but because she touches on the fears, processes, and hopes of living a creative life, I think this is required reading for any creative entrepreneur.
In her essay-style best seller, Gilbert offers her wisdom and experience when it comes to living a creative life. With the broad yet relatable subjects she covers, I knew this would be the best book to kick off our Creative Business Book Club.
If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, or just need a refresher, here are a few takeaways that we discussed at book club!
Pretty soon into the book Gilbert acknowledges the book’s title and goes into her theory of “big magic.” She believes that inspiration and ideas have a mind of their own and will come to those who are open to receiving them. This can explain why many of us may come up with the same idea as someone else. It’s up to us to be open and ready to take on this creative inspiration or idea when it hits us.
Whether you believe that ideas can be their own magical life form, as Gilbert suggests, or not, it’s still a good idea to be open. In our work as creatives, there will be plenty of days when we’ll have little inspiration or motivation. Not every day will produce “magic” but being open to new ideas and forms of inspiration can help push you to do the work.
Don’t put too much pressure on your creativity
As a creative, it’s all too easy to feel pressured to create amazing things all the time, especially if you’ve made your creative gig your full-time job. But Gilbert argues that sometimes it’s better not to rely on your creativity to make you money. Gilbert herself didn’t quit her day job until after Eat, Pray, Love became a bestseller, despite the fact that she’d already published three books prior (and had been a writer for more than 10 years). She says in Big Magic, “The reason I always maintained other streams of income was because I never wanted to burden my creativity with the task of providing for me in the material world.”
There’s nothing wrong with pursuing your creative gig on the side and keeping your day job. Those bills aren’t going to pay for themselves! If you are able to pursue your creative endeavor full-time, don’t be afraid to add additional streams of income. Give your creativity the space it needs to create freely without as much pressure from the outside world.
I have a small confession: my word for 2019 is confidence. I feel a little embarrassed to say it, but I have little confidence when it comes to my own creative work. But as we head into 2019, I’m preparing to pursue freelance writing and marketing full-time (!!) so confidence is something I need when it comes to branding and promoting myself. It also took a fair amount of courage to make the decision to go freelance and Big Magic helped with that.
In Big Magic, Gilbert shared a list of reasons why we stop ourselves from living a creative life. Here are a few:
You’re afraid you have no talent.
You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or–worst of all–ignored.
You’re afraid somebody else already did it better.
The list goes on for about two pages (we’ll find a million reasons not to do something, huh?), but it just goes to show that we’re all a bit fearful when it comes to pursuing our creative dreams. But it just takes a little courage to believe in what you want to do and pursue it full force.