I've followed Liz Gilbert's recent work on creativity for over a year, and her ideas resonate deeply with me.
At the heart of it all is her book "Big Magic," which I finally finished a few weeks ago. It brought me to tears, and I hope you will read it for yourself (if you haven't already).
She talks about all the things that come up when we strive to live a creative life. (And I happen to believe that entrepreneurship is inherently a creative endeavor!) She explores handling fear, questions of originality, keeping creativity playful rather than heavy, dealing with the crap that comes along with it, and so much more!
It's the kind of book that can speak to different people in different ways. Or even to the same person differently depending on the stage they are at. That's why you should read it for yourself, and let it give you what you need.
But today I wanted to share a little bit of the magic that I got from this book in this moment of my life and business.
This summer I found myself in a creative transition. Between family activities, other projects and a new creative outlet, I wasn't able to stick to my content creation schedule for my business. I was really beating myself up about it, after all I am a Content Creation Coach!! Then, I read this...
"If you can't do what you long to do, go do something else... You might think it's procrastination, but-with the right intention-it isn't; it's motion. And any motion whatsoever beats inertia, because inspiration will always be drawn to motion. So wave your arms around. Make something. Do something. Do anything. Call attention to yourself with some sort of creative action, and-most of all-trust that if you make enough of a glorious commotion, eventually inspiration will find it's way home to you again." (-pg. 254)
I realized that, while I was struggling to write a blog article, I was seeing dances in my mind to every song that I heard. My creative focus had shifted, so I followed it.
I have indeed made a "glorious commotion" that has felt chaotic, spontaneous, uncoordinated and amazing. In my case, I was following inspiration, which had turned its head and gone in a completely different direction.
It was like it didn't have the capacity to look in both directions at the same time. I honestly thought about dropping one part of my life completely, or giving up on another.
However, with time, I'm finding that my inspiration and creative capacity is expanding to include both worlds. The whole process has been really interesting.
Then I read what Liz Gilbert has to say about when things get interesting...
"People quit as soon as things aren't easy anymore, as soon as it gets painful, or boring, or agitating. They quit as soon as they see something in their minds that scares them or hurts them. So they miss the good part, the wild part, the transformative part - the part when you push past the difficulty and enter into some raw new unexplored universe within yourself... As my friend Pastor Rob bell warns: 'Don't rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you.' 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." (- pg. 247)
It's in these "interesting" moments that the Big Magic really happens. Now that doesn't mean that you will create the most amazing thing. You might not. Big Magic isn't about the outcome, it's about the experience and growth that happens in the process...
"What you produce is not necessarily always sacred, I realized, just because you think it's sacred. What is sacred is the time that you spend working on the project, and what that time does to expand your imagination, and what that expanded imagination does to transform your life." (- pg. 232)
This is the part that is hard as a Content Creation Coach who works with business owners and entrepreneurs. We want there to be a formula for great content that will always resonate with our ideal clients. But it doesn't really work that way. See, our ideal clients...
"They are just people. They are just like us. They are whimsical and quirky. They're a little different every day, just as you and I are a little different every day. There is no neat template that can ever predict what will capture any one person's imagination, or when; you just have to reach them at the right moment. But since the right moment is unknowable, you must maximize your chances. Play the odds. Put yourself forward in stubborn good cheer, and then do it again and again and again... The effort is worth it, because when at last you do connect, it is an otherworldly delight of the highest order." (- Pg. 195)
And that is the whole point... to connect with other people. Too often we forget that connecting and building relationships is the purpose of our content. And the only way that happens is if we put ourselves out there. If we share the truth of what we know, and even who we are. That's more important than the work being perfect, or original, or brilliant. That is real authenticity.
"Authenticity has a quiet resonance that never fails to stir me. Just say what you want to say, then, and say it with all your heart." - pg. 98
Liz Gilbert never fails to inspire me, so if you are in need of some inspiration, pick up Big Magic, or check her out through any of those mentioned below. And then go make something!
Liz Gilbert on Fear, Authenticity and Big Magic - with Marie Forleo
Your Elusive Creative Genius - Liz Gilbert TED Talk
Success, Failure And The Drive To Keep Creating - Liz Gilbert TED Talk
Magic Lessons - Liz Gilbert's podcast, including episodes with Brene Brown, Rob Bell and others