Big Magic: Lessons on Creativity
On my first year of full-fledged employment, I hardly did anything creative.
I was – I still am – a photographer for a television network working a 9-hour job. I did not bother to stray, explore, and create (more). I was exhausted. I resisted the tug of Divinity to bring me to higher places. More than that, I felt entitled to a greater life than I had. I was, for a lack of a better term, a brat.
I was completely paralyzed. I talked about it. I wrote about it. I cried about it. I prayed about it. But, I was too crippled by my fear, my insecurity, and my pride to move. I thought my best work was behind me. I thought I no longer had within me jewels, which brought forth good, sincere work I could be proud of. I thought, I thought, I thought yet I did not do. I had my entire life ahead of me, and I thought the best, most crucial parts of it were already finished. I was wrong, thank God.
“And you have treasures hidden within you – extraordinary treasures – and so do I, and so does everyone around us. And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.”
I am tired of making excuses to delay creativity. I no longer have the patience to wait for joy, even inspiration, to knock in my heart and surprise me when I know it is within reach. No amount of complaining and (self) hatred can ever bring me to greater heights. Devotion, time, gratitude…now those things will carry me through sleepless nights and innumerable hours perfecting, molding, honing my lifelong passion.
Every night, after performing my day job, I write. I write about my faith. I write about the books that make my heart ache. I write about my love for beauty. I write about so many things, and I can hardly keep track. On weekends, I take photographs. I take portraits of my friends. I plan, go to places, explore, and take photographs of anything that captures my interest (which are a lot of things). The result?
My life is filled with utter and inexplicable Big Magic.
I still keep my day job. I still think I have a long way to go before I can declare myself capable of (full-fledged) freelance work. I still don’t think I am brilliant at what I do, but those things don’t matter as much anymore. Why? Because I get to create things. I get to see smiles on people’s faces when I show them an image I took of them. I get to read letters from strangers, from friends telling me that I have (unintentionally) brought light upon their lives because of something I wrote.
“I did not ask for any external rewards for my devotion; I just wanted to spend my life as near to writing as possible – forever close to that source of all my curiosity and contentment – and so I was willing to make whatever arrangements needed to be made in order to get by.”
Do I get impatient? Do I get fearful? Yes, but nowadays, hardly. I battle the paralyzing fear with space for intentional creativity, a grateful heart, and good faith.
I chose this creative life. I chose photography, I chose writing, I chose to document my life in this public platform. And, with everything, I choose the long hours of waiting, I choose the ache in my body after sleepless nights moving and creating, I choose the fleeting moments of discontent and insecurity, I choose the constant criticism, I choose my personal demons, and I choose the paralyzing fear of financial instability. I choose it all because there is nothing else in this earthly world that can bring as much joy to my life as the very act of creating.
So, dear friend, I plead you to take a moment out of your chaos, your mess, and read this. I think you are, you can be spectacular. You heard it right. I think you have everything it takes to live a life devoid of fear and a life of boundless, inexorable creativity.
“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust – and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.”
Let your fear of being wrong go. Let your fear of criticism go. Let your fear of being relevant go. Let your fear of being better go. Create recklessly, imperfectly, and joyfully. Create with all your heart, and you will find that your life is an instrument of and for Love and Light. As long as you are breathing, you have time – more time than you need – to bring forth this inexplicable Big Magic within you. Never, ever forget that.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear is a life-changing book on creativity by New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert.
If you are hopelessly treading though creative dryness, if you simply need encouragement, validation to keep pursuing your dreams, if you want to discover these transcendent treasures hidden well within you, get this book, now.