9 Ways to Cultivate a Creative Life Beyond Fear | Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

9 Ways to Cultivate a Creative Life Beyond Fear | Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

When I refer to “creative living,” I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.

Elizabeth Gibert

I earmarked the page with this quote on it – Page #9. I knew early on that Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert would resonate with my beliefs about leading a creative lifestyle and I was not wrong. Gilbert shared interesting theories and her personal insight to articulate creative living and the mysteries of inspiration in a resounding way.

Here are my 9 biggest takeaways if you want to invite creativity and provoke inspiration in your life:

#1. Don’t ask for permission

“You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Have you ever heard that it is better to ask for forgiveness than for permission? This definitely applies to living a creative lifestyle however, there should be no reason to need forgiveness. Often your closest friends , family, and loved ones will be skeptical of new endeavors. They raise their concerns and act as though they are doing you a favor. This will only put doubts in your mind. If something creative is calling to you, try and go for it! You don’t need anyone’s permission to do so.

#2. Keep moving

“If you can’t do what you long to do, go do something else. Go walk the dog, go pick up every bit of trash on the street outside your home, go walk the dog again, go bake a peach cobbler, go paint some pebbles with brightly colored nail polish and put them in a pile. 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.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

If you feel stuck on something that you are working on, just keep moving. I believe in moving your body for at least 30 minutes each day. My workouts keep me grounded, happy, and strong.⁠ But this is even more than just physically moving. Pick up a hobby even if it is unrelated to your main project. Right now, I have found myself knitting and embroidering. Any movement will spark creativity.

One of my biggest A-HA moments for a project came while I was not sitting and brainstorming but simply taking a scenic walk home from work.

#3. Act upon your ideas

”Inspiration is always trying to work with you. Trust it and it will trust you. The work wants to get made and it wants to be made through you.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Have you ever had an amazing idea but you did not act upon it and then someone else did? Gilbert introduced a theory that ideas and “genius” find people and if that person does not bring that idea to life, it will move onto someone else who will bring it to life. Sometimes you aren’t at the right place to bring the idea to life due to limited resources or other factors that need your attention and focus and that’s ok. But if you say yes to the idea then it’s on! See it through!

#4. Relax and stay light

“So take your insecurities and your fears and hold them upside down by their ankles and shake yourself free of all your cumbersome ideas about what you require (and how much you need to pay) in order to become creatively legitimate.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Stay unburdened and relaxed especially when pertaining to your creative endeavors. Do not put too much pressure on your creativity. Have you ever noticed that you feel inspired and creative while on vacation? Creative thoughts are often blocked or strained by stress. Allow yourself to slow down and relax and in return, inspiration will strike.

As I was writing this, my Apple watch agreed. Just breathe.

#5. Don’t be a tortured artist, embrace creativity with gratitude

“Every time you express a complaint about how difficult and tiresome it is to be creative, inspiration takes another step away from you, offended.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

It is common to think of artists as dark, deep people. Often, burdened with addictions and a traumatic past. They are depicted as being isolated while working on their craft and they complain about how hard it is to create their art. Others may view this as the model of an artist and feel that they have to unleash their darkest sides and complain in order to be successful.

This is not the case. Living a creative lifestyle should be enjoyable and bring happiness. You don’t need to feel tortured in order to dig into your creative calling.

#6. Dress to impress your creative side

“I might even put on perfume, for God’s sake. I don’t even put on perfume to go out to dinner, but I will put on perfume in an attempt to seduce creativity back to my side.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Right now, I know that a lot of us our sporting our best loungewear, messy hair, and have likely started showering less. Often it is hard to find motivation in such a state. For me, a bold lip color is my superpower. It makes me feel confident and I swear that it attracts creativity. What do you wear that makes you feel this way?

Photo by Mikkel Paige Photography | Makeup by Makeup by Ashley Mooney

#7: Be Entitled

“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.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m not talking about how everyone says that millenials are entitled. I have a friend who spoke to a group and then she declared herself a speaker. She didn’t wait until she had spoken for 10 years or headlined 20 conferences to declare herself a speaker, it only took that one time. After that, she created a website and reached out to people to book speaking engagements. Just like that.

I have had a blog for only a little over two weeks and I am now a blogger. I am also an event planner, an event designer, a marketing professional, a social media strategist, and a business developer as I have also done all of those things. However, people seem to shy away from such titles. Heck, I’ve even spoken to a group before, therefore, I am also a speaker.

I think this sense of entitlement also goes hand in hand with being confident and the “fake it before you make it” mentality. Don’t hold back from giving yourself a title.

“Defending yourself as a creative person begins by defining yourself.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

#8. Be Curious

“Do whatever brings you to life. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions and compulsions, trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest will take care of itself.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

If something is calling to you, try it! Pottery, gardening, yoga – go for it! Who knows where it will lead and what creative thoughts and connections it will unravel.

#9. Be Persistent

“I saw it as proof that you must never surrender, that no doesn’t always mean no, and that miraculous turns of fate can happen to those who persist in showing up.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

Living a creative lifestyle is living outside of your comfort zone. Of course there will be ups and downs but you have to appreciate the whole process and be persistent in your journey. Don’t get discouraged. Even if she wasn’t inspired, Gilbert would write for at least 30 minutes a day to perfect her craft in order to become the amazing writer that she is today.

Don’t be discouraged if someone else is further along than you or if they have already done it. It has not been done yet by you. There should be no excuses to indulge in what inspires you and makes you feel creative even it has been done before.

I know that I have always been drawn to creative endeavors, creative people, and a creative lifestyle. You too? You have to explore your creativity otherwise, you will find yourself being destructive and wondering why. Put your energy to good use! You will feel accomplished and proud of what you create.

“If I am not actively creating something, then chances are I am probably actively destroying something — myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

These are just 9 ways to cultivate a creative life beyond fear. Big Magic includes many more! Read it for yourself and see if this book inspires you to be more creative as well.

A Triple Hollis Book Review

A Triple Hollis Book Review

Rachel Hollis (@msrachelhollis) in tow with her husband Dave Hollis (@mrdavehollis), are Instagram sensations. They own The Hollis Company (@theholliscompany) and provide tools and inspiration for others to live their best lives, including their RISE conferences and RISE podcast. With such a following, it is easy to see why people would want to pick up their books and how all three of these books made their way onto the #1 New York Times Best Seller List.

I have read both of Rachel’s recent books; Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing as well as her husband’s brand new book, Get Out Of Your Own Way. Do you only have time to read one? I’ll share which book is my favorite out of the three if I could only pick one.

For those of you who love things in chronological order, you know who you are – you must read books in order, you must start a television series by watching the pilot episode first and then going in order episode by episode, season by season, and you hate how Star Wars started their movies in the middle of the story. I am going to review the books in the order that they were written – just for you!

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

First up is Girl, Wash Your Face which was one of the books chosen for my book club to read (specifically chosen by yours truly).

Published in February 2018, each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a lie that Rachel once believed which was holding her back from living her best life. After stating each lie, she shares personal stories of how that lie and negative self-talk left her feeling unworthy. She proves how these lies were not serving her or anyone else who may be telling themselves the same lies. Here are some of the lies:

  • The lie: I will never get past this
  • The lie: I’m not good enough
  • The lie: I’ll start tomorrow

She tells stories ranging from how she started her career in event planning, her relationship with her husband while they dated and into their marriage, a traumatic event that happened to her while she was growing up (I don’t want to spoil it for you!), a growing drinking problem, and her difficult experience with adoption. Since I started out my career in the events industry as well, I appreciate that she has a similar background and I can relate to her on that level.

This book is an easy read and I enjoyed the format that she writes in. I did find myself surprised at how religious she gets at times during the book. Overall, she peaked my interest and I gave her a follow on the ‘gram.

“Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.” 

Rachel Hollis – Girl, Wash Your Face

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis

Next, we have Girl, Stop Apologizing which was published in March 2019. I felt like Rachel’s first book laid down a lot of her background and story and then this book went right into being more tactical and practical.

The book is broken up into three parts – the first part defines excuses to let go of that are holding you back. Part two is about what behaviors to adapt to, to achieve results that will bring you closer towards accomplishing your goals. To conclude, part three is about what skills to acquire in order to take necessary action. Here are some of the excuses, behaviors, and skills:

  • Excuse: I don’t have time
  • Excuse: It’s been done before
  • Excuse: What will they think?
  • Behavior: Stop asking permission
  • Behavior: Build foundations for success
  • Behavior: Stop allowing them to talk you out of it
  • Skill: Planning
  • Skill: Confidence
  • Skill: Positivity

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel offers more direct advice and goes over new skills, practices, and habits for women to prioritize themselves and their goals.

This amazing thing happens when you start to grow in one area of your life: other areas improve with it.

Rachel Hollis – Girl, Stop Apologizing

Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic’s Guide to Growth and Fulfillment by Dave Hollis

Last, we have Rachel’s husband’s book, Get Out of Your Own Way. This book was published in March 2020 and is the one that I have most recently finished reading.

Dave’s book follows a similar format to Rachel’s first book, Girl, Wash Your Face, except told from a skeptic’s perspective as his tagline says. He also writes from his male point of view but in a way that women can relate to as well.

He tells stories about his career at Disney, how awesome Rachel is and how she pushes him to be his best self, about a growing drinking problem, and their difficult experience with adoption. Since I had already read Rachel’s books, it felt a bit repetitive. I also felt like he name dropped that he worked at Disney A LOT. But he did work there for many years so I understand that it is an important part of his story to tell.

I hate to say it, but at times this book felt like it was being written in Rachel’s shadow and like he wrote it because her books are successful, so his would be too. Also, rather than Rachel talking about Rachel, at times it just felt like Dave talking about Rachel.

I liked that Dave stressed that mental health is just as important as your physical health. He is very open about his journey with therapy and how it benefited him in overcoming his skeptic-prone ways. In the final chapter, he finally wrote an actionable list that I took a screenshot of on my phone and took a lot away from:

  • Define Your Operating Principles
  • Commit to Habits That Fuel You
  • Find the Leverage to Live No Other Way
  • Be Deliberate in What You Focus On
  • Surround Yourself with Relationships That Serve You

After the list, he breaks down each one with examples and I felt like it was a great way to pull the whole book together. This book was a lot less religious than Rachel’s first book and he also got himself a follow from me on the ‘gram. (Side note: his tea time with their adopted daughter, Noah is adorable!)

“You never lose when you fail; you only learn from the experience.”

Davie Hollis, Get Out of Your Own Way

My favorite of the three books? Girl, Stop Apologizing is the winner for me.

Why? I felt that it was the most actionable and applicable out of the three. There was less fluff and more “do this to get that result” material which is what I respond well to.

All of these books are easy reads and break up their content into a very digestible format. Overall, there have been other books that have impacted me to take more action and that I felt had more breakthrough moments than these, but once I read one, just like you chronological-order-only folks, I had to read them all. I look forward to Rachel’s third book and continuing to follow along with their journey online. I have heard wonderful things about their RISE conference from others who have attended yet I have not experienced it myself.

Here they are not pictured on a book cover! One of my favorite nuggets that I got from Rachel Hollis was actually from one of her past Instagram posts, rather than these books. She said that when she is feeling out of sorts or when Dave is feeling out of sorts, that they have agreed that whoever is feeling stronger that day will take the lead. I really love this concept. The idea that you should be able to communicate when you are feeling “off” to your partner and can trust them to be the lead decision maker that day is really a neat concept and created that A-HA moment for me.

Let me know which of the Hollis’ books is your favorite below!