Because the truth is, I believe that creativity is a force of enchantment- not entirely human in its origins… I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animal and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas.
Where to buy it: QBD the bookshop, $19.99 paperback
When can I get my hands on it: Now!
What can I expect: Creativity, Inspiration, Motivation, Ideas
In Big Magic, Gilbert’s main theory is that ideas or inspiration are their own disembodied, energetic life forms, and are capable of interacting with us humans. Ideas present themselves to a person who they ‘choose’ would be the best man or woman for the job to birth that idea into the world. If that chosen person doesn’t acknowledge the idea then the idea will leave and go onto the next person that is up to the task.
Gilbert admits that this theory isn’t scientifically tangible but she believes it all the same and I have to say that it is a pretty wonderful way to look at creativity. It also feels like it takes the pressure off a bit, that another form of inspiration will follow if you miss the first one as long as you are open to receiving.
Gilbert explains that even though the idea comes to you and this is when inspiration strikes, it’s important to keep persisting in your work even though the motivation/inspiration may not feel available to you. She uses the term ‘stubborn gladness’ to trust in your work as the work trusts in you –
‘I choose to trust that inspiration is always nearby, the whole time I’m working, trying its damnedest to impart assistance. It’s just in another world, you see, and it speaks language entirely unlike my own, so sometimes we have trouble understanding one another. But inspiration is still sitting there right beside me, and it is trying. Inspiration is trying to send me messages in every form it can-…inspiration is always trying to work with me. So I sit there and I work, too.’
Lastly, the most prominent and beautiful thing that stuck out for me in Big Magic is that Gilbert took a vow to become a writer and that she would never put financial pressure on her writing. She took odd jobs and continued writing never once letting herself feel that she needs to write for money and thus, I guess, removing all the magic and romance of creating something. Gilbert states that in her vow, she doesn’t put any restrictions or conditions on her writing –
‘…I didn’t put any conditions or restrictions on my path at all. My deadline was: never. Instead I simply vowed to the universe that I would write forever, regardless of the result.. I also promised that I would never ask writing to take care of me financially but that I would always take care of it- meaning that I would always support us both, by any means necessary’
I believe that this is a wonderful way to form a relationship with creativity. As Gilbert also suggests and I agree, that creativity should be something (or someone) that you make a deal and shake hands with; that you agree to embark on journey together. The relationship should feel like a real relationship that you would have with another being, and never feel like it’s forced.
Upon reading this book a second time, it reaffirmed to me that Gilbert has done a fabulous job recounting how to be creative in your life. Gilbert, the author of the widely popular book Eat, Pray, Love has been kicking around as writer/novelist for ages, and it’s great to have her share her methods of incorporating her writing into her life as a full time occupation as well as before she was a full-time writer and working ‘day jobs’ to sustain herself and her writing financially.
Gilbert’s method in regards to creativity is indeed, magical, humbling and in its way, quite a refreshing and romantic way to look at creativity, as she gives us all permission to create, without success, without a care for anyone else, as long as it gives you pleasure.