Lesson from “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Big Magic

I remember telling you when I shared lessons learnt from ‘The Girls Entrepreneurs’ that this year I planned to read more books but guess what? It’s been two months after and I just completed my second read for the year, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. You probably think I deserve some spanking, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I do, but before you decide on the time and place to do that, let me tell you about Big Magic.

I first saw this book on Nicole’s Instagram story, Nicole Asinugo is a screenwriter I admire and follow on Instagram, she shared few pages from the book, which I read and loved instantly. In that moment, I knew I wanted to read the book, so I went ahead to order it from Roving Height, it cost 3500 naira and I was done reading it in a week or less.

Elizabeth Gilbert
This is Nicole’s IG story

The book focuses on the magic that is creativity, talking about the inspirations, fears, gains and obstacles of being a creative. While I believe everyone is creative, Elizabeth appears to be talking to those who have decided to explore and embrace their creativity, I mean artists, musicians, writers, dancers, and the likes, but please that don’t quote me here.

We see her reference different creatives, using their wins and mistakes to teach one vital lesson or the other, most times, she takes us through her journey as an upcoming writer to becoming a writer we all know today. For me it was revealing and I enjoyed taking every lesson she shared as they were relatable. If you can, you should read Big Magic yourself, as a creative or otherwise.

Lessons From Big Magic in no particular order;

  • Perfection is fear in high heels; I will explain, you know oftentimes we say, “I can’t do this because it is not perfect?”, well that’s fear parading itself in high heels and should be not be given too much attention.
  • No one is truly fearless; last week someone described me as fearless and I felt cool but after reading Big Magic, I realized it is all a fallacy. According to Elizabeth, to be fearless is to be a psychopath and contrary to popular belief, fear is good. You heard right,  fear is what makes you know not to jump in front of a moving train, so fear will always try to save you whenever it seems you are about to do something wrong or something unusual. This is why it comes up when you try to embark on a new project. So the right thing to do would be to acknowledge your fears but never allow it control your life.
  • Determine what sh$t you are willing to take; regardless of what path you take, there will always be obstacles and challenges, so decide on what you love enough to deal with its sh$t and stick to it.
  • Done is better than good; as hard as it may be sometimes, aim to finish. Seeing a project through will always be better than having a fantastic incomplete work.
  • Your projects are not your baby, you are actually the baby; I have always referred to my podcast as my baby but after reading Big Magic, I think I may have been wrong. She explains how creatives get so attached to a project that when it is time to let it go or let the world see it, they can’t because it is their baby. While reading, I realized it is actually the creative who grows and change after each project, so every project teaches something new, hence you are the baby.
  • Be persistent; oftentimes we make the mistake of saying, I have no inspiration to do this work, we leave it and wait for inspiration to come back. But how about still working on that project? How about staying persistent? From her examples and experience, I believe inspiration rewards us for staying persistent.
  • You will fail, get rejected so many times but never take it to heart. Elizabeth Gilbert shared how her writings got rejected severally but it didn’t stop her. One story I particularly loved was how as a young writer, she sent her work to a publication and the editor rejected it but years after she had her big break, this same writing was sent to the same editor and it was accepted.
  • Share your work; after you are done working on that project, don’t be afraid to show it off with your head up regardless of how people see it.
  • To live creatively is to not be considered about what anyone thinks because, at the end of the day, no one is really thinking about you. We are all to busy with our lives to care what you are doing, and though sometimes you may catch our attention, it is never for long. So do you!
  • Your 9-5 is important; this was the page Nicole shared on her IG story that got me searching for Big Magic. Here Elizabeth talks about creatives who think their creativity should fend for them, she disputes this notion. According to her, your creativity is not your career, rather it is your vocation, expecting to feed from it would kill it faster than you can imagine. In her journey, she held on to her 9-5 while writing, and even after she had her big break, she didn’t stop until her third book.

Sincerely, I will be reading this book, again and again, so I never forget any of these lessons and to think there are still more lessons I couldn’t mention here. I highly recommend you read it.

Alright, I hope you learnt a thing or two from this, I will be back soon with my next read in a bit. I should but this out here, I have a goal to read 50 books in 2020 and this is 2/50, wish me luck.

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