How to Tap Into Your Creativity: 9 Lessons From Elizabeth Gilbert's Book "Big Magic"
The best-selling book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert isn’t normally a book that I’ll pick up, but I’m sure glad I did last month.
It’s a quick and easy read. Although the way she writes isn’t normally how my favorite bloggers write, the book has some great tips for creative beginners who want to learn how to tap into their creativity. Also, if you’ve been feeling in a creative rut, these basic creative principles are great reminders as well.
The book has definitely gave me a few reminders and fueled my creativity this month. So today I thought I’ll share with you the best lessons to tap into your creativity and live a more colorful life.
#1 All ideas are looking for a partner to act on.
I thought Elizabeth’s way of saying this was so perfect. I don’t know why I was never really aware of it, but once I was reading that chapter I know it hit spot on. What Elizabeth is trying to say is that we get new ideas every day and ideas float in and out of our minds. When you get this idea, you can either grab onto to it and act on it or leave it if you don’t like it.
If you like the idea you’ll eventually go into a “contract” with that idea and you’ll be the person in charge of executing on the idea. The idea then become yours.
I always get random sparks of ideas everyday, but ideas are fleeting. If I don’t hold onto them, they’ll go out there and find another partner. A few years ago when I started to take blogging seriously and make an income from it, I had this idea. I wanted to tell my boss so I can go from working full time to part time because I wanted more time to grow my business.
I had the idea, but after thinking about it for two weeks, I never had the courage to say so at the time. Eventually the idea fizzled. Elizabeth also says that if you don’t act on the idea and lock it into a contract, it’ll find another partner who will act on it.
This is one of my favorite lessons and moments of epiphanies from the book “Big Magic.” It’s so true, but I could never articulate it as well as she can.
So the next time you get an idea, follow that idea, and see if you decide to act on it? What happens if you do? What happens if you don’t?
#2 It’s okay if other people don’t like what you create.
I think everyone has more or less fear of others not liking their work. And these people aren’t to blame. A few years back, I was quite afraid of other people not liking my work too. I didn’t really want to admit it, but I was. I was terrified when I got my first negative comment on my blog.
These days I don’t get much, if any, negative comments at all. This isn’t because there’s some secret magic to not getting criticized. I do get people who disagree with me. But I have my own journey to go on, my business to run, and if we don’t connect and cross paths, that’s okay. I can’t stop and turn everything around to just suit one person.
When you tap into your creativity and follow your own inner guide, you won’t even see anyone who isn’t on your path or is willing to cross paths with you. Just know that everyone gets critics and haters, just continue to move on.
#3 Choose love over fear.
When I was reading “Big Magic”, I got introduced to this idea of acting from love vs fear -- and I’m fascinated by it. For the longest time, I thought the opposite of love is indifference, but Elizabeth brings a new perspective.
Ever since learning this idea, I looked back at some old decisions I made. I asked myself, “Was this decision made out of love or fear?”
Just asking this simple question has helped me put so much in perspective. You don’t want to look back at your life and feel like you didn’t have a choice. I see too many people feeling like they’re a victim of life and they can’t act out of choice. I plan on writing a separate article on this so look out for that in the future.
When you’re truly tapping into your creativity, it should always come from a place of love, not fear. If you notice that it’s coming from fear, ask yourself, “Why? Can I switch it to one of love? How so?”
#4 You’re allowed to creative entitlement.
I know this point is making you think, “What?! Entitlement?” When we hear the word entitlement, it always bring a negative connotation. Why is anyone entitled to anything if everyone else has to work hard for it?
What Elizabeth means is that we all have a voice and a vision and all that is within you. No one can give it to you. No one can steal it away from you. It’s just what you make of it. And you’re entitled to it because it’s within you.
You can create anything you want, anything you believe in without caring about what others think of you. If you’re someone who has always looked outward for validation, you will always feel like someone else’s voice is louder and stronger than yours.
In school, we were always waiting for our teacher’s approval.
At work, we’re always waiting for our manager to approve our work.
But to tap into your creativity, you don’t need anyone’s approval. Just sit down and start creating. It’s okay if you don’t feel proud of your work at first. You can always create without sharing, publishing, or showing others your work until you’re ready.
Just know that everyone has their voice and vision because it comes from within. So even if you have to listen to others at school or work, during your free time you can create anything that feels good to you.
#5 It hasn’t been done by you yet.
When we sit down to create, start a blog, create and sell a course, this idea of “but there are already so many people doing it already” pops up. We feel like just because it’s done before, we can’t bring a new perspective to the table.
We’re all the same, but yet different. No two peoples’ journey will be exactly the same. And no one person will only get inspired by one person for the rest of their life. Share what you’ve learned, experienced, and what you can. Everything else isn’t up to you to worry about.
So tap into your creativity by asking yourself, “What do I have a huge calling to share? What do I feel comfortable in sharing at this point?”
#6 Lighten up.
For most of my life, I felt like there was always this darkness around me and that I took life too seriously. When you’re in environments like school and your day job there’s too many people and influences that makes tapping into your creativity much harder.
When I’m alone, I take myself way less seriously. It’s almost impossible to tap into your creativity and create when you carry a “this has to be perfect” or “I’m always right” mentality.
Let go, lighten up and experiment.
#7 Done is better than perfect.
Perfectionism is one that blocked my creativity for years. Together with having managers who like to approve my work, I felt stifled for many years. I knew my work was good.
The first time I read an article on perfectionism, I realized I had to let go of some things. Also, I do find that INTJs like myself will have issues like this because we like to get to the bottom of the truth. And unless I get to the truth, it’s not perfection. But it doesn’t have to be the truth; it just needs to be “your” truth.
I’m not going to go into perfectionism too much here because I’ve written an entire article. Elizabeth says that perfectionism will only stifle your creativity. You can be spending 9 years to work on something, but if your work doesn’t get out there, it doesn’t help anyone.
#8 Follow your curiosity.
Being curious is one of my favorite things to be. Without being curious, you won’t be learning new things, creating new habits, and moving forward in your life.
Following your curiosity goes hand-in-hand with following your inner guide. If there is something that attracts you, follow it. Following your curiosity is the first step to creating anything in life.
#9 Make room for creativity everyday.
If you want to tap into your creativity, you’ll need to practice the skill and strengthen your muscle. Once you’ve been creative for a while, you won’t need to be practicing it everyday. But in the beginning, you’ll want to be doing it everyday to strengthen that muscle.
Plus creativity is a habit that you can stack up over time. The more you do it, the deeper it gets. Eventually you’ll get so deep into it that you begin to create something no one else has thought of.
But tapping into your creativity begins with practicing it everyday. It doesn’t matter what skill you want to build, simply start with the skill that you want the most.