Hey, friends! I am happy dancing over here! Do you want to know why?! Because I finished a book!!!! Start to finish, cover to cover and all within the space of a month! If you had known me in middle school or high school this would not have been much of an accomplishment at all. During my college and post-college years, however, I have sought TV for rest and entertainment. I have been wanting to get back into reading for awhile and I am hoping that renewing my love for this hobby will help to reverse some of the effects that the dreaded “mom-brain” has had on me. This time around, though, I want to do things a little differently. I want to force myself to think about what I’ve read and share it with you all. Now, if left to my own devices I would likely just requote the entire book to you (especially if I thought it was that good!) so instead, I came up with this 5 question interview to ask myself each time I finish a book. Hope you enjoy my review of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
- What made you want to read this book (besides the cover, Jenne)?
This book was mentioned more than once on Jenna Kutcher’s podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I’m interested in going back and listening to exactly what was said surrounding this book, because I went into the book thinking I was going to learn some kind of formula for weeding out the ideas that aren’t good enough to go anywhere. However, that is not what I gathered from this book at all.
- What are 3 main themes throughout the book?
1. Just do it. No, she didn’t exactly use the same words as Nike’s famous slogan, but that is what it all boils down to. We need to stop seeking permission to be creative or waiting for creative energy to fill our veins and just do it! It’s not always going to feel like magic is happening, in fact, it’s not always going to be magic that is happening. But we need to have discipline to create the opportunity for magic to happen.
2. It doesn’t matter. I think especially in this entrepreneurial age when people are making huge careers from creative ventures, it is so easy to put too much weight on our creative ventures. We want them to pay the bills, to prove that we are successful to the world and our doubters, and to save the world. BUT it doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter if nothing ever comes of your creative venture, if you never write a best seller, or have a huge social media following, or have a blog post go viral. What matters is that you were diligent in practicing your craft and enjoyed the life you created with it.
3. Creativity is not a place for perfectionism. Expecting perfection from our creative work will literally crush us and therefore stifle any Big Magic we could have created. Perfection is the creative’s biggest enemy. We need to be okay with “good enough” and see how these “good enough” creations/experiences shape and grow us throughout out our lives.
- Do you have any favorite quotes from the book?
Gahh! So many! I will try to narrow it down a bit:)
- “Creative entitlement doesn’t mean behaving like a princess, or acting as though the world owes you anything whatsoever. No, creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that – merely by being here – you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”
- “I told the universe (and anyone who would listen) that I was committed to living a creative life not in order to savee the world, not as an act of protest, not to become famous…not to challenge the system…not to prove to my family that I was worthy, not as a form of deep therapeutic emotional catharsis…but simply because I liked it.”
- “So try saying this: ‘I enjoy my creativity.’
And when you say it, be sure to actually mean it.
For one thing, it will freak people out. I believe that enjoying your work with all your heart is the only truly subversive position left to take as a creative person these days. It’s such a gangster move, because hardly anybody ever dares to speak of creative enjoyment aloud, for fear of not being taken seriously as an artist. So say it. Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy.”
- “The great American novelist Robert Stone once joked that he possessed the two worse qualities imaginable in a writer: He was lazy, and he was a perfectionist…If you want to live a contented creative life, you do not want to cultivate either one of those traits, trust me. What you want to cultivate is quite the opposite: You must learn to become a deeply disciplined half-ass.”
- “In other words: If you can’t do what you long to do, go do something else…
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 its way home to you again.”
- How did this book inspire/motivate you?
This book pretty much broke me down and put me back together again. Just being honest here, but I don’t think that I’ve ever felt so much like a book “just understood me” that wasn’t related to the Bible before or at least written from that worldview. Here’s the thing, you see that quote about a lazy perfectionist listed above? That is me to a T. This is a topic for another post, but discipline and I do not have a good track record and when perfection is the goal, why bother trying?! There is something so incredibly freeing about setting your sights lower than perfection and into the realm of reality and possibility. Even reading this book has helped me to sit down and write this post. It’s not going to be perfect but it is going to be mine and finished and published. And I will grow and learn through the writing/finishing/publishing of this post. If I learn a lesson in the discipline of just doing it alone, it will have been worth it!This book has also motivated me to no longer seek permission to be a creative. I don’t need a degree in this, more letters behind my name, or to prove myself in any other way to take a seat at the creative table. I’m going to do the gangster thing and say “I enjoy my creativity!”
- Who would you recommend this book to?
If you are a creative, this book is 100% for you. I’ve barely scratched the surface here in this post, and likely you will find that different parts are more powerful to you than what I gathered from it. It is definitely worth your time and will greatly benefit your creative process. If there is a creative person in your life that you just don’t understand, this book is also for you. You may not still fully understand what makes them tick but my hope is that you would be able to grant them that permission to be creative, to take risks. Because that is who they are. You are simply holding them back.
So what do you think? Are you ready to dive into this one?! By the way, it is only $6.98 on Amazon right now so click here to get yourself a copy! Comment below if you do!
I can’t wait to read this book. I laughed at the idea that enjoying your work is a “gangster move” but it’s so true! Glad to see you doing what you love!!
Jenne | Babes & Blue Houses
I had a good laugh at that too! Thankful for friends like you who are doing the gangster thing too!!