Anyone who knows me well, knows that my favourite author is the sublimely talented Elizabeth Gilbert. I find her so inspiring, her memoir Eat Pray Love changed my life and helped me forge my own journey (albeit not through the beauty of places like Italy, Bali or India) to self acceptance and through the pit of depression and out into the light. If you follow my Goodbye Fatty blog, you will no doubt already know all about these challenges and what I went through so you are all caught up? Great!
Liz (I hope I am allowed to call her that?) has written a fabulous new book called Big Magic, it is all about creative living beyond fear, something that speaks very expressly to me. I have been devouring this book every night, chapter by chapter, consistently fist pumping and screaming out “Yes! Yes! This so happens!” to the point of my housemates asking if I am ok in there (to which I reply with a resounding YES!). This is something that I have struggled with for so long, constantly being excited by creativity, but then fear creeps in and takes over and everything dwindles and I fall back into the black pit of “artist suffering” resolving myself to the fact that I will never be a writer or creative person.
A large part of the book explores our influences growing up and what people say to us about being creative and how this cannot lead to success (or what the world deems as successful) and I must admit that this is where probably three quarters of my fear comes from. What if I put it out there and it gets shot down? What if everyone laughs at it and it is a complete failure? What if my family read it and realise that some of this is about them? What then? This and a host of a million other questions consistently flood my mind when I start a creative project, I exhaust myself going through all of this, that I am so depleted and my creativity is completely bruised and battered, and the project slips away.
One of the ideas in the book explores making our creative projects public, this is something that I also struggle with, I have believed for the longest time that all creative work is for public consumption, otherwise how do you know if its any good? This has been my struggle this week and my realisation is this, I create because I want to create, because I make something that did not exist the day before. I do it because it get’s hold of me and I have to get it out. It doesn’t have to be a fully formed novel or script, it can be an idea with a few major plot points, and the more I dwell on it and research it, it reveals more of itself during this process. My problem is posting everything up for anyone and everyone to see before it has been attended to and coddled to produce a work worthy of creativities idea. I also do this in my personal life too and this has been a huge realisation this week, I looked back at the last few posts on here and they are deeply personal. I am posting up thoughts and events about myself and someone else I am currently involved with (hopefully still am!) and while I am an open book, he is a private person who does not necessarily want my thoughts about us and him out there for everyone to see.
When I approached the subject with him, he did listen and say that he understands why I need to write about it, and I agree to some extent that I definitely do need to write about it, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be public. So if you are reading this expecting hot and steamy details about my relationship, I am sorry to disappoint you, moving forward that is completely off the cards, I will be continuing to write about it, but it will not be something that is made for public consumption.
I feel like this is a first in a series of giant leaps forward for my creative life and I am excited about where it takes me. If you look to the left you will see a cute little cartoon that I nabbed from Liz Gilbert’s Facebook page about fear. This is a quote from Big Magic about where fear should be in the presence of our creative lives. “Fear is allowed to come along for the ride, but it is sitting in the back seat, it doesn’t get a say, it doesn’t get to navigate, it definitely does not get to take over, it does not even get to touch the radio! Instead of fighting it or conquering it, we have to work with it and acknowledge that it exists” I cannot stop reading this passage over and over and dwelling on the direction this will take my writing.
Recently I gave up playing games and dedicated that time to my writing, already in the last few weeks I have seen such a surge forward in my work, I am getting to pursue and accept so many things that I just kept on the back-burner because I was convinced that I would do these things “when the time was right”. Already this post is close to 1000 words, something that used to feel like such a chore to get out, now just seems to be flowing out of me as I open myself up to the creative process and accept that yes I am a writer, yes I am a successful creator and I have all the tools I need to do this.
If you want to listen to the Magic Lessons podcast hosted by Liz Gilbert you can subscribe here