Sometimes you start a great book, and it sneaks up on you slowly. Until that moment when you can’t put it down. Other times it shows up front and centre, fabulous from the first chapter or even the first few lines. And your only hope is that the rest lives up to those first few moments.
Big Magic, the latest by Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) for me was definitely the latter. In part because the content was so unbelievably perfect for me at that moment that the book found me, but also because Elizabeths’ style and honesty was so endearing.
With a lot of humanity, humility, and a whole lot of humour, Elizabeth makes a beautiful case for creativity. Or just getting on with your own authentic version of life. A case that you can on some level translate into ‘why you should really, unashamedly, just do and enjoy that thing that lights up your day’.
It is refreshing to read someone who has ‘made it’ and had crazy success talk of how that
success doesn’t just make everything after it glorious and easy. About how all good things are found somewhere amidst the usual, everyday ups and downs of life. About that old fashioned notion that just because it doesn’t work out perfectly for you, or reward you, right this second, in this moment, doesn’t mean you should drop it and move onto the latest, shiny thing.
Indirectly, through talking to her personal story of living creatively (well before international stardom) she is really talking to us about how to find our own way with our own passions in the day to day of our actual life. And its this sprinkle of optimism and a little fairy dust over the ordinary that will either really appeal to you, or have you off hunting for something more analytical or to the point. (In which case I can highly recommend ‘Do the Work’, by Steven Pressfield. Another awesome piece of work)
I love how the idea of inspiration as something outside of us, that ‘visits or not’, allows us to not take so personally those times when we just don’t seem to have ‘it’. When we might have lost our mojo. This capacity to externalise is so useful in maintaining that self belief, confidence and discipline to, as Elizabeth puts it, ‘keep showing up’. And now that she mentions it, just showing up seems the most powerful thing that we can do.
On the surface sport and creative pursuits might not seem to have a lot in common. However in Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert lifts the lid and helps us see that the same grit, routine, practice and highlights/ lowlights play out no matter which we are talking about. Which feels a bit like a dirty little secret of life in general. There is no ‘overnight success’, there is no ‘good all the time’ there is no ‘born flawlessly creative’. Behind all of that is *work*. And probably a bit of mess. Not that this is a new idea (Leonard DeVinci apparently proffered that it takes 1000 bad ideas to get a good one), but that isn’t really the point.
Maybe the secret is finding work that fills you up, not just your bank account. And that takes courage. Which is perhaps one reason why Part 1 of Big Magic is entitled ‘Courage’. The courage to be you, to get started, to keep going. To show your own personal brand or version of life to the world.
Interestingly, Part 2 is titled ‘Enchantment’. Which hopefully suggests that our moment of courage may be rewarded with something wonderful and hopefully longer lasting than that uncomfortable and awkward moment of courage. I’m sure someone said it only takes 30 seconds of crazy courage to change your life, yes?
Should you read ‘Big Magic’?
Whether you chose to take Big Magic with its spiritual creative perspective, just enjoy the personal stories shared, or read this for tips and practical advice on how to get on with doing that creative thing you always wanted to do, then this will be a great read you won’t want to put down. I certainly didn’t!
Do you want to bring some creative mojo into your life but not sure what your particular breed or type of creative is? Or how to fit it in? Thats just what Lovely + Creative is here for! Take a look are, and if you don’t find something that helps, reach out to say hi and let me know what you ar looking for. I’m sure we can help!