Last month I reread Elizabeth Gilbert’s book on creativity, Big Magic. I rarely, if ever, reread books. But I had remembered LOVING the book the first time I read it. I also remembered it being chock full of nuggets of wisdom on creativity.
I cannot recommend this book enough if you’re a remotely creative person (which spoiler alert, is just about everyone!) In the meantime, here are some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom and quotes I know I’ll keep referring back to from the book:
✨ Inspiring Quotes on Creativity from Big Magic ✨
1. “You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life”
Cheers to this. For so many of us, we’re waiting for someone else’s permission. Usually, that comes in the form of having a job that allows us to be creative or being a part of a formalized program like college or graduate school. But the truth is you don’t need someone else’s permission to be creative. That’s the beauty of creativity, you can just sit down and create. No BFA, MFA, or book deal is needed.
2. “If you’re alive you’re a creative person”
Bam. I studied theater in college in a pretty unconventional theater program. The focus was on creating “whole theater artists” and we trained in everything — acting, design, directing, movement, stage management, playwriting, etc.
I was someone who always saw themselves as just an actor (/singer/dancer). I really had a mental block around this idea of being creative and was 100% convinced that I. Am. Not. A. Creative. Person. It’s honestly something I *still* struggle with to this day.
But what Elizabeth Gilbert says is true, if you are alive you are a creative person. She explains that we are all descendants of makers — decorators, tinkerers, storytellers, dancers, explorers, problem-solvers. It’s in our blood to be creative.
3. “You are not required to save the world with your creativity”
This one hit hard for me, especially considering the current state of the world. There is this pressure that your art, whatever that may be (in my case, the content I create for the internet and as an instructor) has to save the world. But sometimes it can just provide entertainment. Or stress relief. My blog isn’t going to save the world. Nor are my yoga classes. But that doesn’t mean they don’t add value to the world at this time.
4. “I do what I do because I like doing it”
When I started my blog 9 years ago, I never thought about it turning into a part of my career. I also never thought that it would lead to job opportunities and meeting some of my closest friends.
I started blogging because I liked blogging.
For so many of us, we’re focused on the end goal of creativity: A book deal. A profitable blog. Our play being performed on stage. We can forget the real reason why we do what we do — we enjoy doing it in the first place.
5. “What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail”
Ah, failure. The reason oh so many of us (including myself) don’t bother to try.
This came up for me recently with scheduling fitness classes on Zoom. I’ve been wanting to teach more Zoom classes, but then my own fear of failure kept creeping on in. What if no one signs up? What if no one shows up? Or what if people show up and hate it?
But I decided to “fuck that” and scheduled the Zoom classes anyway. If I fail, I fail. Doesn’t ruin my life. But if I succeed, I’ll be happy I did it. And spoiler alert: I’ve taught on Zoom the last 3 weeks and it’s been so fulfilling. I’m glad I put myself out there.
6. “Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes, but even worse it often stops people from beginning their work.”
[Quote Continued]: Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory so they don’t even bother trying to be creative in the first place.
THIS!!!!!!! I’ve talked to a lot of people over the years about their desire to start a blog. So often they talk about wanting it to be perfect and that’s why they haven’t done it. News flash: It’s never going to be perfect. 9 years into blogging and my blog design isn’t perfect, nor are my blog posts. But don’t let that desire for perfection stop you from getting started.
7. “Nobody was ever thinking about you anyhow”
Raise your hand if you worry about what other people think ALL the time (ME!!!!)
Elizabeth Gilbert eloquently talks about the fact that in actuality, no one is thinking about you. If my Zoom yoga classes failed royally, it’s not like every single one of my Instagram followers is spending their night thinking “Hmmm I wonder if Kayla’s yoga class was a success?!”
No! The only person asking is my mom. Otherwise, people are wrapped up in their own life, their own successes and failures. I think this is so so so important to remember, instead of obsessing over what other people might think of your work, just do the work.
8. “Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding. Because that moment? That’s the moment when interesting begins”
A perfect quote to end on. It’s easy to do the work when the work feels easy. When the words flow effortlessly, the dance sequence choreographs itself. It’s those moments when you hit the tough spots that you need to remind yourself to keep on going. Those hard moments are oh so often where the magic comes through.
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