#33 in my Tonics for Your Creative Spirit email series: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
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A little (big) magical something for you this week!
I’ve got another dose of soul-soothing creative goodness, and for one lucky winner, I’ve also got a copy of the book where I found it.
And that’s especially good news because this week’s featured read is…
Now, even though Big Magic promises inspiration and comfort for anyone on the creative path, I actually resisted it for a while, for many of the reasons Liz explores in the book.
(It’s always heartening to learn you’re not alone in your worries…)
For example, I’m currently writing a book about the creative process, and so I was a little nervous in case I found that my ideas had already ‘been done’.
This is apparently a very valid fear, and actually happened to Liz herself, when her book idea was created by another author before she could write it.
Also, since I’m still shaping and forming some of the theories for my book, I worried about being influenced, both consciously and unconsciously.
(We creatives can be unwitting magpies, merrily adopting any shiny gems we discover along our path.)
However, despite my resistance (or maybe because of it…), those book angels were covering all their bases and I actually ended up with 2 copies for my birthday.
Naturally my first reaction was to give the extra copy to one of my lovely blog readers, so, I have a beautiful hardback copy of Big Magic to give away. (Details below.)
Of the many snippets of wisdom that I jotted down from Big Magic, this is the one I love the most.
In these words, Liz sums up an idea that has been gradually dawning on me over the last few years, particularly this last year as my study of the creative process has deepened.
It’s the idea of resilience. Or, as success coach Lisa Nicholls joyfully calls it; bounce-backability.
Admittedly, it’s not the most glamorous aspect of the creative process.
It doesn’t have the sense of mystery and miracles that accompanies Inspiration.
It doesn’t have the sparkling buzz of Creation, when the work pours forth effortlessly in a rapture of creative bliss.
It doesn’t even have the smart and savvy air of confidence that Productivity delivers.
It’s much more subtle. It’s quiet and unassuming.
It’s barely even noticeable during much of the process, yet it’s the quality that will make a crucial difference when you come up against the inevitable creative challenges.
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When everything’s going wrong, when it feels too hard, when you’ve had enough and you want to give up – it’s Resilience that whispers, Let’s try again.
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It’s a tenacity, an imperceptible core of strength, that enables you to redouble your efforts in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
It may be born of resolve or will, or it could be sparked by an innate purpose.
It can appear as sheer bloody-minded determination. Or it can simply be a calm refusal of defeat.
(It’s summed up perfectly in the clichéd-yet-profound wisdom of Keep Calm & Carry On.)
But for all its low-key subtlety, there is a quiet fierceness to resilience – and it’s a true creative superpower.
In one of my favourite films, Tristan & Isolde, there’s a scene featuring King Marke, (played by the rather lovely Rufus Sewell).
The scene shows King Marke returning to his medieval village which has been attacked and destroyed in his absence.
His people turn to him, asking him what they should do. He surveys the smouldering remains, sighs sadly and offers one word in response. “Rebuild.”
And cultivating that inner steeliness, as Liz Gilbert so beautifully describes in her book, is very often the real work of creativity.
So I hope this idea of resilience will inspire you to hang in there, whenever you’re feeling bruised by the creative process.
Because mastering, instilling, even faking resilience strengthens your creative courage – making you an unstoppable force in the direction of your creative dreams.
And that way, magic lies.
PS Also in my birthday book haul was Rising Strong by Brene Brown which also focuses on the superpower of resilience – so stay tuned for more on this important topic.
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: : : GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED : : :
1 Leave a comment below describing either your Big Creative Dream, or your idea of Creative Heaven.
2 Make sure you’re on my magic list, as I’ll be notifying the winner via email.
3 If you’d like to spread the magic, please share this post with any friends who could a boost to their creative superpowers. (Buttons below.)
I’ll select the winner at random on Monday 14th December.
Good luck! May the Big Magic be with you. 😉