Happy New Year!
Amazon recent opened a brick and mortar store in University Village which is where I picked up Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic book. After reading the first few pages I couldn't put it down so I brought it home with me and finished it over a span of 4 days. I believe the right things come into our life when we need it most and this was certainly true for this book. I was not giving any time to my art; I wasn't shooting or printing in the darkroom to the point my beau wondered if I had lost interest in photography altogether. I was finding every excuse to avoid creating and after reading this book a lot of it touched on much of what I was feeling at that time: fear of being judged, not finishing a project because it wasn't perfect, and at the end giving up altogether because what's the point.
Here are my favorite top ten things I highlighted from the book so that I can reference when I should get back in this mindset because let's admit; this isn't something that you address once and you're completely freed of it. It will come again and again as long as you want to keep creating.
01: “So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
02: “Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”
03: “creative living... living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”
04: “Recognizing this reality-that people's reactions don't belong to you-is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you've created, terrific. If people ignore what you've created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you've created, don't sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you've created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest - as politely as you possibly can - that they go make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.”
05: “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”
06: 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.
07: Why do people persist in creating, even when it's difficult and inconvenient and often financially unrewarding? They persist because they are in love.
08: Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes-but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work. Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end project is never going to be satisfactory, so they don't even bother trying to be creative in the first place.
09: An abiding stereotype of creativity is that it turns people crazy. I disagree: Not expressing creativity turns people crazy. ("If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don't bring forth what within you, what you don't bring forth will destroy you.' --Gospel of Thomas.)
10: A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.