Daily Life, Musings of sorts, Women with Purpose

Liz Gilbert – Words of Wisdom

March 7, 2016

I saw Liz Gilbert talk on Friday. I was pretty pumped to see her after reading her book BIG MAGIC about creative living without fear, as it was about a year or so ago I went to see her at the Opera House. I dragged The Ginger Hunk along. Liz, while sitting ALMOST CLOSE ENOUGH FOR ME TO TOUCH, HUG, HAVE WINE WITH LIKE MY BEST FRIEND ETC was drilled on the intricacies of creativity, BIG MAGIC, fear and pleasing others.  Here are some nuggets of her wisdom I will share with you.

Forget about creativity, curiosity is inside us all

My friend Clare just wrote a beautiful post on this. Quite often we believe that we are NOT creative, that creative is something that we are tagged with, and thus we are allowed to be creative, once granted permission.  This is wrong. I don’t know what stops us being creative, but something does.  I was looking at all the little girls at my nieces party yesterday, and they were all jazzed up in their tutu’s drawing, playing, walking around like little princesses. I’m not saying that we all have to wear tutu’s in our mid-thirties… but somewhere along the line we are all told taught to walk the line, and stop being creative, that creativity is for the chosen few. Let me tell you a secret. I have always been a writer. But I also LOVED to draw. I would spend hours when I was young, drawing and writing stories in books. I was a terrible artist, but would lose hours in it. HOURS. And that is what BIG MAGIC IS. So despite my curiosity and call to draw for hours. I stopped. I wasn’t any good. Liz asks us to not decide to be creative, but say yes to the little inklings of curiosity we may have, and that is in us all. Don’t kill your curiosity, you don’t need permission to try.

2016-03-07_05.10.22Create then let it go

Liz described a friend who would ‘hang’ onto projects after they were finished, hoping that the publishing media whirlwind or whatever happened would bring her joy. She advised us to ‘put it in the river and let that project go’. The best satisfaction that we can have is FINISHING. Once finished, you send your art out into the world and make space for new ideas, by setting old ones free. Your job is to create and finish things. I loved it when she said that “the saddest thing in the world is thinking about all the unfinished novels sitting around in drawers “. Cheers to that. And guilty of that. I had a very clear idea for a children’s book. The story came to me. I wrote it. I wanted to self publish it, just because I wanted to. Now it is sitting there, I think it’s not ‘good enough’ to send to publishers and my heart is telling me I really want to do it myself. Yet I wait.  For I don’t know what? Permission? I just need to put it out there AND FINISH!

Are you surrendering or giving up?

As in the example that I chose before. If I killed my book idea now, I would be giving up for sure. I had the idea almost 14 months ago. Yet it sits. Surrendering is another thing all together. Surrendering is pouring your heart and soul into an idea, and hitting a brick wall. You can’t go any further, but you really know that you tried. Surrendering is different to quitting.

Most things in life are boring – but keep going 

I loved this part of the speech. Things that people do are often boring. Parenting. Boring. Travelling. Boring. You spend a lot of time sitting around in airports, feeling sick, tired jet lagged and spending a fortune, or alternatively, cleaning up vomit and schlepping around to kids parties. But we do it for the ah, hah moments, that are few and far between. Writing is the same. For the most part, we slog it out. I’ve had two of the biggest pieces of my career due this week, and I waited for the BIG MAGIC to come and it didn’t. What I had to do was squish two very passionate subjects of mine, (and six interviews, and two studies and EVERYTHING ELSE I WANTED TO SAY) into 600 words a pop. That was not BIG MAGIC. That was stressful. So sometimes, creative work is hard and boring like life.

But what is BIG MAGIC then?

For me, it’s waking up at 4.45am to let these words out as if they were bursting.

Losing hours in this thing.

That is what BIG MAGIC is.

Much love and Happy Monday, 

Ashleigh XXX 

Image credit for feature – Oprah 

Linking up with My Home Truths for #imustconfess

More Women With Purpose on My Meow

Elizabeth Gilbert

Edith Hurt 

Bexy McFly

Bronwyn Law 


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  • Great post. I was in the front row in Brisbane for her big Magic tour and loved it. I got to ask a question which helped me a lot. I also have books in me I want to get out. I swore I would work on book proposals this year and it is already may. I vow to get on it now! I hope your children’s book is getting somewhere too.

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  • I’m yet to read Big Magic though it is on my shelf. I’m so bummed that both she and Brene Brown were here in Sydney last week and I missed them. To be honest, I’d have loved to have seen Brown. The two of them though, so a lot together these days it seems.

  • What a lovely post. I couldn’t get into her book “Eat Pray Love” but sounds like she would be magic to hear in person.

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    I have to say I’ve never read anything Liz Gilbert has written but her points are quite profound. Maybe I have to get on the bandwagon after all! Thanks so much for linking up this week Ashleigh x

  • I’m listening to Liz for the second time round via Big Magic on CD. I have the book too but am loving hearing her laugh and talk. What a great privilege it myst have been to see her and hear her. She obviously made quite a few points relating to creativity and big magic and I liked what you wrote about it. I have become far more playful since becoming a grandmother. I am also making art every single day now I am retired and it’s taken me a while to realise I do not have to BE anyone in a role any more..I can just do/be and have fun creating for myself and the pleasure it brings. Cheers, Denyse

  • TeganMC

    It’s sad that we let our creative sides get pushed to the side. Society tells us that it’s not real or serious etc and so we let it go. If only more people realised that it’s ok to be creative and serious, that the two are mutually exclusive.

  • But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could dress up in our tutu’s and dance around like princesses without be ridiculed or judged…. *sigh*
    Wish I could have had the opportunity to listen to her!

  • The difference between surrendering and giving up is a really important one – I hadn’t thought about it that way before.

  • Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect

    I had never thought about the creative side being stopped but it is true. We begin to doubt and then judge ourselves.

  • I’m so jealous you got to see Liz Gilbert live! I’m in the process of reading Big Magic now and I just love it. I think I’ll be reading it more than once so I can absorb all the pearls of wisdom she imparts. You’re right – creative work is often hard and boring, just like life! 🙂

  • Love this. To be creative is a blessing and a curse….. that’s if you let it be. I’ll take the blessing and see the obstacles only as recognition I’m doing something unique… I am going to get Big Magic.

  • Hugzilla

    I absolutely adored Big Magic and I want to read it again already. It’s just so spot on, and very reassuring to know that I can tap back into the seam of wisdom if ever I’m feeling dejected or over it. I love the bit about letting it go. Yes.

  • LydiaCLee

    It’s very odd how we just stop doing what we like to do…