In today’s post, I review Big Magic, Liz Gilbert’s non-fiction published in 2015. Liz Gilbert is a best-selling author with Eat Pray Love being one of her megaselling books. In Big Magic, she talks about living as a creative and life as a creator. There is a difference between the two where living as a creative is light, joyful, and breezy. Whereas LIVING as a creator is perfection-seeking, obligating, and swamped busy. The secret to balancing the two is what entails in this awe-inspiring book that only Liz Gilbert could pen.
Creativity is the relationship between human being and the mysteries behind inspiration.
According to Big Magic – ideas are a form of energy, with consciousness and willpower. The notion that ideas float around to seek their right partner to manifest itself. That’s because only through collaboration with a human partner can it come to life. This is why people describe themselves as being ‘hit’ by inspiration or ‘dawned’ by one. When an idea pays a visit, usually it comes with an invitation for you. It asks, “Would you like to take a journey with me to make this stuff happen?”
A Blindfolded Journey with Inspiration in Big Magic
Most usually the journey is more of a rollercoaster ride. Sometimes amid the pits of pursuing your inspiration, you feel tricked and cheated by fate. Yet when you hit the high notes, no words can describe the high. Fellow creatives should know this feeling very well. That’s why not many people would choose the life of a creative/creator because it is unstable and fickle. So only if you truly feel the best way to spend your life is by collaborating with forces of inspiration, then by all means it is the most rewarding. But beware of the traps laid out as inspiration tests if you’re its best collaborator.
There will be many times when inspiration will swallow you up with frustration. But be kind to yourself. Know that frustration is not an interruption of your process, but frustration IS the process. Handling frustration is a big part of becoming a creator, but in hindsight, it is a big part of growing up too. Be realistic that you will not leap from one bright moment to another, simply because you have devoted your energy and time to create. Liz Gilbert emphasises that nothing is all good all the time. What matters is that you are willing to endure the bad times for the love of what you do.
‘Don’t Expect Creativity to Pay The Bills’ is The Short Review For This Book
In this book, Liz Gilbert mentions the importance of not relying on creativity to support yourself financially. Although the pursuit of creation is best approached with child-like curiosity, it should never be approached childish-ly. Financial demands can kill a person’s creativity so create a stable financial environment for creativity to thrive. If this means working 3 other part-time jobs to pay for the rent then be it. The freedom to create should not be hinged on pay. It is important to understand that people create not because they have all the time or energy for it, but people create stuff that matters to them. Stuff that they want to see come to life.
A big portion of the chapter ‘Persistence’ spoke about money and how important it is to keep a roof above our heads before we attempt to create. Simply because we serve better from a place of abundance. Believing that the universe wants you to have your best is naive and such a saying should only be used in retrospect. Be wise to know that the universe doesn’t owe you anything to orchestrate a good life just because you have a pure intent to create something useful. Such naivety often pulls inspiration away from a person. Because inspiration wants to collaborate with the most conducive medium to manifest itself. And that means inspiration loves those who are resourceful.
Done Is Better Than Perfect Says Big Magic
Another interesting point Liz mentioned is that we don’t have to wait until our work is perfect to release it. Because there is no such thing as a perfect creation. And in the same breath, there is no such thing as a perfect time to start. The best time to start was yesterday, and the second-best time to start is now. People are afraid to begin because they’re afraid of the outcome. Would it be a flop? Would it be a big hit? Do not attach the value of your creation to its result, but rather value your creation to the growth you experience in the process.
Often people fool themselves by saying that they will take on an inspiration’s invite when the timing is perfect. Because usually, that means never. It is better to have a half-baked cake in the oven, at least you now have brownies. Rather than owning the perfect recipe for a chocolate cake but you’re still waiting for the right type of organic chocolate beans hand-picked by 6-foot tall albinos – you know you will never come around to that perfect moment to start baking that chocolate cake.
Create In The Space of Love, Not Suffering – Liz Gilbert
Well-meaning people will ask, ” What if you do all this and success never comes?” And for that, the well-meaning answer would be, “If you can’t see what I’m already getting (satisfaction, freedom, joy, the list is long!), then I’ll never be able to explain it to you.”
The book also explores the negative notion that suffering is a good environment for art creation and CAUTIONS AGAINST IT. The fact that many are willing to cushion their suffering with the belief that their suffering is sacred for the sake of creation. We have seen many creatives (singers, actors, artists) suffer through this path and it usually doesn’t end well.
Another thing we must know is that the product of our creation is NOT sacred, but rather the time we spent creating the product is sacred. The process of creation is indeed light, free, breezy, and nothing less fun, and of course, far from suffering.
Big Magic Says: Don’t Follow Your Passion
Liz Gilbert also urges creators to forget about following your passion. But rather, to follow one’s curiosity. Being inquisitive is a more interesting approach than being devoted. Being devoted to your passion means that you’re obliged and strapped to your inspiration. Remember, the invitation from inspiration is light and should be taken with an open mind, curiosity and child-like wonder. It’s an invitation to an adventure where the end product is your souvenir.
Your adventure was the prize and what you created was just memorabilia of that adventure.
The outcome cannot matter. Souvenirs don’t matter.
If the outcome of your product is loved by many, then that means you struck luck. On the other hand, if the outcome of your product is not warmly received but you had a ball creating it – YOU’RE ALREADY LUCKY.
“We must know that we are worthy, regardless of the outcome. That you keep making work, regardless the outcome. As we are born to create, regardless the outcome. And never lose your trust in the creative process, even when you don’t understand the outcome.”
So what is it that you love doing so much that the outcome doesn’t matter?
Let me know in the Comments section below. If you’re a subscriber to the Baini Mustafa Email, simply reply to me with an email. Subscribe here if you would like me to reach your Inbox with stuff I don’t share anywhere else.