Have you read Liz Gilbert’s book Big Magic? There are so many great ideas to ponder in this short gem of a book. I’m re-listening to the audio version this week as I zip between work and directing Brigadoon in Freeport, Maine; we open on 8/30 – oh, my!
Here are my big reminders from Liz:
We are all creative
You were born creative. As a kid you had a vivid imagination. You made things. You invented things. You played dress up. You loved stories. Then you grew up and what happened to that creative energy? Are you still finding it inside you, and finding ways to let it show itself to the world? This could be in how you decorate your house. What you cook. How you dress. How you run a business. What you create in art, words, or song. Do you ever get that feeling in your gut, that twitter of elation, when you have an “ah-hah!” moment? That’s your creativity bubbling up. When you’re committed to living a creative life, you celebrate that moment by taking a baby step to start making an idea a reality.
You don’t need anyone’s permission to do things
You don’t need a degree to say you’re a writer, or an artist, a movie maker, or a creative inventor. Unlike engineers or dentists, creative people just create. You don’t have to wait for someone to say “go ahead.” Just go ahead! Write to figure out what you think. Paint to see what’s going on in your mind. Sing the tunes you hear in the shower or when you’re alone in the car. Waltz when you want to waltz. Run in the rain. Laugh out loud. We’re grown-ups but we don’t have to be stodgy, and you don’t need anyone’s permission to live a creative life.
Ideas are magic and they’re looking for someone to help them become reality
Liz deeply believes that ideas are living entities that thrive when someone claims them. Clearing your mind and your desk, and clearing the clutter from your life is an open invitation for an idea to descend on you and become your idea. But here’s the thing: ideas are fleeting. If you have a great idea and don’t act on it, that idea will move on to someone else who is ready to take action. You can always say no to an idea, thank it for stopping by, and then move on with your life. But wouldn’t it be more fun to say YES and roll out something new in your life?
Here’s a big idea that descended on me recently: take a 6-month leave of absence from work to travel and write the sequel to my novel Gunny Malone. When this thought occurred to me I was thrilled – and terrified – and I sat on it for quite awhile. And I actually did have to ask for a bit of permission to make it happen, but I just got approved at work and will be hitting the road from February to August 2020. My goal is to live in and be inspired by the places I’m writing about in 1861 – Cape Horn, South America; New York City; Alexandria, VA, Charleston, SC; St. Louis, MO; the pioneer trail out west; San Francisco; and Dingle and Dunquin, Ireland. This, of course, is “Plan A.” I’ll keep you posted about where the winds actually take me!
Creative ideas can feel risky but acting on them is a joyous, humbling, and magical thing that makes the risk an exciting part of the adventure. Are you ready for an idea to descend on you? Awesome! Maybe we will cross paths on my road trip next spring :).
My older daughter Sam is a math/science girl who also has in incredible creative streak. She uses her doctoral degree in Physical Therapy during the day, and spends her weekends in a wood shop! Here are a couple of the MANY things she is working on for her barn-wedding next month. The first ones are covers for Cornhole boards. The second is a backdrop she made for a photo booth. Believe it or not, those flowers are made of wood! Wow.
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