When something really hits home, sparks joy and ignites your creativity, well, it would be just downright wrong to not shout about it! So here I am, shouting about Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes, I’ve arrived unfashionably late to this party but hey, not all the ice has melted and it’s better late than never, so let’s get this shindig started!
From start to finish, Big Magic was one of those books that just had me thinking and itching to write. Gilbert describes her passion to write as a vocation, that no matter how successful or unsuccessful she might be, she would never stop loving writing. She didn’t write to pay the bills, or for views and likes, she wrote because she had no choice. She was so drawn to the act of storytelling that she couldn’t stop, even if she wanted to.
So here’s a few lessons reading Big Magic has taught me;
Who do you write for? For me, I’ve never not been able to write. From stories to journal entries, reviews and blog posts, I cannot stop myself putting words down on a page. Why do I do this? Honestly, like Gilbert, I just bloody love it. There’s something about seeing those thoughts and ideas in your head down on the page that just makes me happy. I want to share those thoughts, I want to make a brew and have a chat about them, I want to dissect them, pull the lines apart and delve into the story. I write for me.
Not every idea is going to stay your idea. Anyone who writes anything, especially when it comes to blogging, will have an idea. And it might be the best, most original idea you’ve ever thought of and your fingers fly across the keyboard. You can’t wait to hit publish on that post. But you get distracted, maybe the kettle boils or a drama kicks off on Twitter. You don’t finish the post, it slowly moves to the bottom of your drafts page and you forget about it for a while. A few weeks go by and suddenly that super amazing idea you had is trending on the Bloglovin’ homepage - only it’s not your blog that it’s been published on. Ideas are fleeting little sprites, they stop by for a visit, maybe let you nurture them for a while but if you don’t see them through to the end they go off and make a home in someone else's inspiration. Not everyone will treat that idea the same, you are always allowed to put your own spin on it, but don’t ever think that you have 100% hold over it.
Be entitled. You are 110% entitled to be here, on this stage. You are entitled to explore your creativity, to explore it openly and honestly. You have to believe this, you have to believe you are good enough to at least try. Being a creative person isn’t a separate identity, it is your identity, you are a writer, you are a blogger, you’re whatever you damn well please to be.
Stop complaining. Creating isn’t always easy, you’ll find all rhyme and reason about the struggle of being a creator just one Google away. You chose to create, nobody forced you into it, so complaining about something you freely chose to do is just downright annoying - and boring! Creating isn’t easy, nothing special or worthwhile ever is, and if it was easy, you’d be complaining that everyone was doing it. I love how Gilbert gives inspiration a physical form, how every time you complain about your creativity or lack there of, inspiration is just standing there pointing to itself saying, ‘And what am I?’. You’re complaining about a lack of something that is always with you, because it’s a part of who you are. So next time you feel the blank page looming, don’t start ranting at bus stops and cursing the skies, how about you tell your inspiration that you appreciate it, you love your creative vocation and see what little tid bit of a spark it lights up for you.
And if your lack of success is killing you…simply stop. If forcing yourself to churn out half assed blog posts and slaving away over editing photos you don’t like, then stop. You don’t owe it to anyone and you certainly owe it to yourself to do something you love with your life. If you have truly lost your love for creating, move on to something else you do love. Take up whittling, knitting, travel, learn a foreign language. Our time on this planet is pretty finite, so why waste it doing something you really really don’t enjoy? How does that make sense? There is no shame in simply downing tools for one hobby and picking up tools for another. And you never know, with all these new hobbies and experiences you’re now having, you might fancy writing about them again some day.
I can’t praise this book enough. I’ve come away with so much valuable information and had some pretty concrete ideas shattered and built again with extra sparkle. Whether your a blogger, a YouTuber, a crafter or creator of any kind, this book is a must read. There’s always room for a little more inspiration!
What’s the best piece of creative advice you’ve been given?
Until next time,