October 15, 2015
Keep Trying Again.
I just read Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I loved listening to her podcast, Magic Lessons, and found that each episode related to my own experiences and inspired me in my own creative work. While I didn’t find the book to be deeply revelatory, it was positive, reassuring, and gently inspiring with the reminder that we all need to create and that we all have permission to do so. It's like having a confident and experienced friend or colleague cheering you on.
She doesn’t claim that creating is easy and often, its not. I was corresponding with a friend lately about life with a very little one and once again read this post that I wrote a year and a half ago. It is still so applicable, if not more relevant, than it was then. I lost the nap battle and, while Amos has a bit of quiet time each day, I don’t have a current strategy for getting creative work done. I am lucky to have some time each week that Amos spends with his grandparents. Even so, I find myself letting go of a lot of expectations, which feels like letting go of ambition.
Then I remember that striving for accomplishments is not the most important thing and her book reminded me over and over that creativity does not depend on success, on accomplishments, on audience, or even on passion. Although it may seem hard to take from someone who has had such success as Elizabeth Gilbert, she asserts that it is the writing that matters above all else. She doesn't force her creativity to provide income, wait for her creative work to bring success, or demand that everything she makes must be perfect. This book reminds me that I can let go of expectations, the need to have a greater purpose, the hope of a certain outcome and just create.
Most of my creative projects lately have been simply making, not dancing with inspiration or creating something new out of thin air. But I still believe that making is creative even if it is the same stitches over and over until the yarn forms a hat. And practical creativity is satisfying, even if the hat is a little too big or the pants a bit too small, they still keep you warm. And you keep trying again.
If you haven’t read the book or listened to the podcast, I highly recommend both.