Updated on February 29, 2016
I almost quit my blog at the beginning of this year. I feel like every other blogger out there…and there are so very many, is better than me. Or has something more important to say. Or at least knows how to say it better. I’m not inspiring anyone. I’m not changing the world through my words. It is definitely not a career.
Then I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. And then I read it again. In it, Gilbert describes how we are made to create things, we have always been creators of things. We may not all be as talented as Shakespeare or Van Gogh or Beethoven, but we can all create things. What stops most of us from creating things though? Fear. “Fear is boring,” (p.19)
Liz’s theory is that ideas and inspiration are like Magic. We just have to be open minded and available to them. We need to “cooperate fully, humbly, and joyfully with inspiration.” She also suggests that ideas are alive and they are seeking out the human that is most available and open to them. Her advice then: “Work with all your heart, because-I promise- if you show up for your work day after day after day…you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.” (p.63)
And my fears listed above, about how some other blogger has already said what I have to say, and said it better? Who cares?! “Most things have already been done- but they haven’t been done by you.” (p.57) And my concerns about not being inspiring or changing the world with my words? Again, who cares?! “You are not required to save the world with your creativity!” (p.98)
It’s okay if I just write for me. I can write about what I want to write about and how I want to write about it. Would I like a lot of people to read it and tell me I’m brilliant? Sure. But that probably isn’t going to happen. “It’s okay if your work is fun for you,….It’s also okay if your work is healing for you, or fascinating for you, or redemptive for you, or if it’s maybe just a hobby that keeps you from going crazy.” (p.100) My theory is that WordPress is cheaper than therapy so I might as well stick to it! If only to keep me from going crazy (er). “If you don’t like it, go make your own f*#$ing art!”
I want to end with this little antidote from the book. Elizabeth befriended an octogenarian who told her this: “We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what other people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what everyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth-nobody was ever thinking about you anyhow!”
Whether you are a painter, writer, photographer, pianist, whatever, just do it! Nothing is beyond criticism. Nothing will be perfect. So just go for it. Make something. Be open to ideas. Let the Magic happen! And let it be BIG!