I have often questioned whether our lives are a result of the choices we make or whether they’re determined by fate. Lately some things that have been happening to me has convinced me that the universe does respond when called to. All I can say is there is without a doubt a higher force.
God, energies, spirits— whatever you want to call it.
On Friday, February 17, 2017, I was ahead of schedule for my city commute. I arrived at Penn station at 7:45 A.M. With ten minutes to spare I strolled around and found a bookstore. There were a few books on the table and I just randomly grabbed one and flipped through the first few pages. I wasn’t planning on buying a book that day. I definitely wasn’t looking for something called Big Magic.
I’ve always had a passion for writing, but never to the point where I’d feel secure enough to give up my stable, corporate, 9-5. I dreamed of exposing my writing to others, but the fear of others having greater potential hushed me. I believed that if my writing didn’t grant a certain number of likes, it wasn’t the best material. I also believed that no one would take me seriously. They would laugh.
However, this book convinced me to ignore all that crap. Elizabeth Gilbert humorously attacks these thoughts and really highlights the fact that all of us have the potential to make a living through creative pursuits. This does not necessarily mean we have to give up our 9-5 job or indulge in a starving artist lifestyle or a romanticized depressive status. Whenever our inspiration comes to us we have the choice to act on it or let it go. There is no race or competition. I think my favorite part of this read was the idea that we should define our inspirations as curiosities rather than passions. If we’re curious we will follow our instincts. If we’re passionate it puts mountains on our shoulders and adds a connotation of self-sacrifice.
Most importantly, if you are really worried about the success of your writing then writing is actually not for you. The thing you love shouldn’t ever cause you great grief. Of course, if a magazine doesn’t accept your work, it’s okay to take a moment and grieve. Make sure it’s just a moment however, because the point of writing or creative living in general is to do what brings you the greatest joy.
In the book, there was an anecdote of Gilbert’s recalled a story where her friend was invited to a high class costume party and chose to show up in a lobster suit. He was so embarrassed that he wanted to leave but instead he embraced his situation, dubbing himself the “court lobster.” Everyone loved him.
“But you must stubbornly walk into that room, regardless, and you must hold your head high. You made it; you get to put [your work] out there. Never apologize for it, never explain it away, never be ashamed of it. You did your best with what you knew, and you worked with what you had, in the time that was given”.
That section right there made me laugh, but taught me a lesson too—Just do you.
I’m happy I bought this book. It came at the right moment, and I recommend it to everyone. We all need to focus more on doing what truly brings us joy.