The book that helped me harness my creative juices!
What’s on your book shelf? What are you currently reading? Is a question I often got asked when networking with others in a professional setting or when chatting amongst meeting new girlfriends.
I used to hate that question because I was embarrassed that I couldn’t join in on the conversation. The only books I ever had time for were my text-books. And if not my textbooks, then I was articles deep in research as most graduate interns are.
That all changed, thankfully, last July when I graduated from grad school (hell to the yes!). I still love reading research articles, but I promised myself I would go back to reading for leisure. The first book I picked up post grad was EAT Pray Love, buy Elizabeth Gilbert. I fell in love with her immediately and couldn’t wait for her newest book release to come out, BIG MAGIC.
I owe this book the courage for allowing me to even start this blog, so this book will be the first (of many) that I will review and share with you all.
Big Magic is a must read on your summer reading list! Here are 7 reasons why:
1: What is Creativity?
Liz starts the book off asking a simple question. But then really think about it! What is creativity? How would you define it? If you were to explain it to a 5-year-old, how would you put it? She defines it as this: “The relationship between a human being & the mysteries of inspiration!”
She goes on to give key details about how lucid and mysteries creativity really is. Her explanation of creativity being an outer force which is alive is a bit trippy. I mean seriously think about it. We are all living vessels which take up energy. If EVERYTHING is energy, then so is creativity. There are literal atoms of inspiration just floating around this world, but if we are not open to seeing it, then we will not see it.
2: Be Ready When Inspiration Knocks
This is one of my fav lines from Big Magic: “It is only through a human’s efforts than an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.” Creativity is floating all around us. It is up to us to wake ourselves up and tell the universe that we can handle the demands of the flavorful unknown that is out there.
How much creative opportunities escape us because we are not ready to be the creative forces vessel? I know for myself that I’ve had creativity sneak up on me too many times, but I wasn’t ready. Whether it was a perfect Instagram worthy quote that came to me or a kick-ass work out that I didn’t write down….. ideas will come all leave you if you are not ready for them!
3: Jump Head First
The author asks, “Do you have the courage to bring forth your heart’s work? The treasures that are hidden inside of you?” Why yes, Liz, thank you. I do! And so do you, yes you! It’s true. (Okay, I’ll promise I’ll stop rhyming… if you promise to not play small with your creative juices. Be brave! )
We all have hidden talents, quirks and gems that God has woven ever so deeply into our souls. We must be brave enough to take a journey and explore them. Bring them to life!
4: But, Don’t Quit Your Day Job! (at first)
Many people preach on the idea of taking a leap of faith in order to get serious with turning your passions into profits. “Quit your 9-5 and just go for it”,is what they’ll tell you. But I couldn’t agree more with Liz’s concerns about this particular approach.
She believes that you should have other streams of income (whether it be busting tables on the side, bagging groceries or keeping your desk job) while starting your creative journey (whether you are starting a new business, launching a blog or what have you).
If you rely on your passion-project to put food on the table, then you may be working out of desperation rather than inspiration! (Shameless plug…. Hustle from your HEART!)
Think of a painter for an example. If he was painting a picture for leisure and did not have to worry about this piece of art selling to keep the lights on, because he bartends some nights,….. that painting is probably going to be more vibrant, have better brush strokes and have more of a creative edge. His mind is free of anxiety and worry.
Don’t ruin your zen-like headspace or flow that your craft gives you by doing it freely, because that is an expensive price to pay. TRUST ME….. the money will come after!
Live a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than fear!
5: Nothing is Stronger Than Persistence and Faith!
Another one of my favorite lines from this book: “Measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your success or failures.” Even those that have raw talent are no good unless they harness that talent through persistence! If you love something, keep at it. There is no such thing as failure. Remember that water can cut through stone, not because it’s stronger, but because the river doesn’t stop flowing. Don’t slow down! Have faith!