I have never read Elizabeth Gilbert's work. Not even Eat, Pray, Love. I always had the intention of reading it, but my reading list is continually growing at a pace that I just cannot keep up with. With that being said, I have followed Elizabeth Gilbert for a while because I love what she does and who she is. When I heard about her newest book, Big Magic, I knew immediately that I would buy this book. And I am so glad I did.
What I loved most about Big Magic is Elizabeth's candid conversation about what it means to live a creative life; how you can't expect creativity to make you rich or famous, because that's not what creativity does. Creative living isn't just for the "creatives" either. Elizabeth talks about how creative living is a view on life; it's about exploring your curiosity.
I loved this book for a lot of reasons. The biggest one being that it helped me understand that it doesn't matter the outcome of my creativity, the point is that I have to continue creating. I've been doing a lot of research recently on my field of interest. I am not exaggerating when I say that every single thing I have read does not show much promise. Every market is oversaturated, underpaid, and losing to the internet and social media. Broadcasting, Publishing, and other creative fields are hiring much fewer employees to none at all. Broadcasting and Journalism in particular is in decline; it's expected to decline 13% over the next few years. This isn't particularly hopeful to read. The job areas everyone is saying to pursue are Business, Finance, and Healthcare. I tried this, and it didn't work for me. I enrolled in college majoring in Business, but eventually I switched to English. I worked at a bank for way too long because it's what paid me, but eventually I left there as well because I was stressed out and depressed.
But I'm still living in this tension of having to make a living and doing what I love. I don't know what I'm going to do for money yet, but I've learned that I can't sacrifice my creativity. My creativity may not be paying me yet, but that's ok. I'm going to continue being creative because it's what I have to do.
We are not less just because we don't get paid to write books. We are not less because people don't know our name. We are not less because we have to hustle in our spare time. We are not less.
I'm sitting here writing this post at a coffee shop outside, with a little girl sitting next to me on a rock drawing a portrait of her little sister. She's just drawing because she likes it. She's not trying to get people to notice her. She's not worried about what other people think of her drawing. She's just drawing.
Let's all do what we like to do, simply because we like to do it.
Elizabeth asks this question toward the end of her book:
"Fierce trust demands that you put forth the work anyhow, because fierce trust knows that the outcome does not matter.
The outcome cannot matter.
Fierce trust asks you to stand strong within this truth: 'You are worthy, dear one, regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don't understand the outcome.'
There is a famous question that shows up, it seems, in every single self-help book ever written: What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
But I've always seen it differently. I think the fiercest question of all is this one: What would you do even if you knew that you might very well fail?
What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?"