Tips From Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic; Living A Creative Life Beyond Fear”
Deciding to embark upon a path of creativity is rather dynamic and one of the most exhilarating decisions one can make. However, let’s be honest; it can very well be intimidating, at best, and downright petrifying, at worst. Despite, the ups and downs that comes with the territory of being an Artist, living a creative life is a privilege and a spiritual experience that is out of this world and that one must earn.
Participating in creative living is perhaps the closest one gets to God, the SUPREME Creator, in this realm unless you are a Buddha of course.. Nontheless, when you co-create with the Universe it is a divine encounter every time. SO, you will need COURAGE, TALENT, DIVINE ORDER (Luck) and a whole lot of DISCIPLINE. And, you will need a hustle or 2 or even 3 that you work the heck out of until your Art starts paying your bills. WHY? Because like the great, late Dr. Maya Angelou said, “You got to stand on your own feet in this world,” meaning your livelihood and well-being is no one’s responsibility other than your own and it is selfish to require your Art-form to pay your bills. Author Elizabeth Gilbert, eloquently drives this point home in her recent book, “Big Magic; Creative Living Beyond Fear”. She writes,
I HELD ON TO THOSE OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME FOR SO LONG BECAUSE I NEVER WANTED TO BURDEN MY WRITING WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PAYING FOR MY LIFE. I KNEW BETTER THAN TO ASK THIS OF MY WRITING, BECAUSE OVER THE YEARS, I HAVE WATCHED SO MANY PEOPLE MURDER THEIR CREATIVITY BY DEMANDING THAT THEIR ART PAY THE BILLS. I’VE SEEN ARTISTS DRIVE THEMSELVES BROKE AND CRAZY BECAUSE OF THE INSISTENCE THAT THEY ARE NOT LEGITIMATE CREATORS UNLESS THEY CAN EXCLUSIVELY LIVE OFF OF THEIR CREATIVITY. AND WHEN THEIR CREATIVITY FAILS THEM (MEANING; DOESN’T PAY THE RENT), THEY DESCEND INTO RESENTMENT, ANXIETY, OR EVEN BANKRUPTCY. WORSE OF ALL, THEY OFTEN QUIT CREATING AT ALL.
Living in LA, I come across so many Artists and entrepreneurs that are scraping just to make it by and they couch surf like there is no tomorrow. All for the sake of creativity. But what if they were selecting the hard way to go about it and in turn abusing the craft they were gifted in the first place. I mean, in LA, there are countless jobs that are part-time and will afford you both the opportunity to pay your rent and have time to hustle and work your gift. Besides, the last thing you want is for what was once your escape from reality and pure joy, to become a chain around your neck.
Isn’t the purpose of being creative linked to the love of the process, miracles and innovation the creation lends? Well, if that is the case, whether we make a living or not, perhaps we should be grateful that we have the ability to create; thus, CREATE ANYHOW. Yes, that is correct, CREATE whether it comes with a huge duffel bag or whether it comes with you brightening up someone else’s day or receiving some revelation about yourself, life and its purpose. Perhaps that is the real sign of a true Artist, a being that simply creates for the sake of creating.
I mean don’t get me wrong. If you can have your cake and eat it too, by all means have it and invite me to have a slice with you. I just see so many people put all of their eggs in one basket, sacrificing their freedom and independence and sense of self-worth. And when that basket turns up empty, their spirit is so crushed and sometimes they give up on creating and expressing the inner magic that they hold. And, this my friends, is the biggest tragedy of the entire scenario.
This is why here at heART of cool, we understand that TALENT is not enough. Nope. It sure is not. When it comes to life and when it comes to Art, so many talented people are not famous and so many famous people are not the most talented. AND, what really will throw you for a greater loop is the fact that everyone that is famous is not financially stable, which ends up crushing the egos of people that you may see on the big screen or hear soaring the charts, etc. However, the Artists that outwork everyone else, work smarter, understand business, know how to select people of high character to partner with them, stay disciplined and focused and stay ready; well, they tend to slowly but surely rise to the top having built a brand that will be remembered for all time (e.g. BEYONCE, COMMON, PHARELL, etc).
So if you are an Artist or entrepreneur out there and you have a gift or an idea and you feel lost or discouraged a bit because you are working a job or a few jobs and you feel that if you had more time, you could really get your dream off the ground. Please allow me to relieve you by saying keep on keeping on. You are on the right track. Be grateful that you are employed and in a position to take care of yourself in a world where people are losing their jobs everyday. And never put your Art before your well-being. For if you start out that way, it just gets worse; hence, the unfortunate tendency for us to lose our dear and beloved Artists so soon (e.g. Michael Jackson, Prince, George Michael, etc.).
If you really want to practice your gift in such a huge way that it pays your bills, bust you butt and make the sacrifices necessary to work on your craft every free second you get. And, guess what? Your gifts will make room for you and it will not cost you your quality of life to do it. It will not jeopardise your soul. Only you can do that.
?Love & Light?,
CRISTEN M. MILLS