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?
#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.