In January, I picked up a copy of Big Magic from the library, completely on a whim. I read Eat, Pray, Love a few years ago. I don’t regret reading it but it didn’t affect me the way it seemed to affect others. It certainly seemed like a worthwhile use of time. Can’t we all use more eating, praying and loving? But I didn’t feel compelled to uproot my life to do those things. I can do them here.
Anyway, I was honestly more drawn to the cover of Big Magic than anything else. I’m a sucker for bright colors, especially pinks and blues. I had only a vague idea what it was about, but a quick skim through the summary was enough to pique my interest, and so home with me it went.
It took me a few weeks to read the entire thing, but not because I wasn’t enjoying it. I have a problem with reading five or six books at a time. I like to think of it as a random kind of multi-tasking, even though rationally I know it’s not. Despite taking my sweet time, I thoroughly enjoyed Big Magic.
The book walks through six aspects of living a creative life – courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust and divinity. Sections from trust are what most stuck with me.
One section discussed the notion that if you’re having trouble being creative in your chosen field, choose a different field for awhile. If the words aren’t coming to you, find another way to let your creativity out and trust that the words will come back.
I’m wondering if this is where my sudden urge to try watercolor painting is coming from. My day job is fulfilling, but there are serious constraints on what I get to write because I’m writing on behalf of a large company. I don’t get to flex my creative muscle, and so picking up a paintbrush and smearing beautiful colors on paper sounds so appealing. What would happen if I started painting? There’s no pressure to be good at it. No one will see it and my annual salary isn’t riding on it. Would it allow me to tap into a deeper reserve of creativity that I haven’t touched in awhile?
This book made me believe that there is a still creative person hiding underneath my outside shell. Sometimes I’m not sure I remember how to write if not directed by a message track that was labored over by multiple levels of management before it made its way to me.
There was a time when I’d have described myself as a creative person, but like any muscle or skill, you have to keep it fresh. If I don’t try to be creative, I become less creative.
Big Magic made me believe that I AM creative and that’s what I needed most right now.