I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Big Magic".
I devoured it in two days, and only wish I had found it sooner. It left me buzzing with creative energy and thoughts, and my long-dormant desire to make art was awakened.
The book gives simple, no-nonsense advice to those who wish to lead more creative lives, and reminds those of us in a creative rut why making stuff is fun, and why we should simply do it.
One of my personal creative blocks has always been my desire to make things that mean something, that will provoke serious thought in its viewers, that would perhaps make me seem at least very deep, if not tormented. But no, Gilbert tells us, that's not at all important. It's fine to create beautiful things just because, and you can make a living out of it, and you don't even need to apologize for it!
One of the messages that stuck with me most is that humans have been creating beautiful things, for no good reason, since forever. "Keep in mind that for most of history people just made things, and they didn't make such a big freaking deal out of it. We make things because we like making things". Hm. Isn't that lovely, and freeing?
"But I have no inspiration for something to draw", is a thought that swirls around my mind each time my fingers itch to pick up a pencil. These thoughts were ones which often left me staring at blank pages, frozen and thinking "If I have nothing good to draw, I may as well not draw at all." But this book reminded me that we must diligently create daily, even if it's the most meaningless scribble. Fake it till you make it.
Oh, and just as I found myself excusing my creative dry-spell because of lack of time (I'm a stay-at-home mom, and when 8 pm rolls around and the kids are in bed, I'm a lump of sweatpants and smudged eyeliner), Gilbert tells me to make time for my art as though it were my lover and we we having a passionate affair. Find 15 minutes here and make art, give up an hour of sleep and stay up late with your illustrations. Though it's something I'll have to work on, I loved that she helped me bust this excuse of mine.
This book, and Gilbert's wise, nudging words, left me feeling like Yeah, I can do this. I just need to do me, to put my work out there, and not worry about the rest. "I can only be in charge of producing the work itself. That's a hard enough job. I refuse to take on additional jobs, such as trying to police what anybody things about my work once it leaves my desk."
So I think 2017 will see more of me on Instagram, more filled pages in my sketchbook, more posts on this blog. More mistakes through more attempts, more joy in my art, more self-forgiveness, more lightness on this artistic journey.
Thank you, Ms. Gilbert, your book is magical indeed.