How to be creative – a lesson from Liz Gilbert

Well I’m finally home after my big long weekend away. I have been at work for the last two days but staying with a lovely friend to save me driving home late Monday night.

I had the privilege of attending the ‘all about women’ event at the Sydney Opera House over the weekend – as well as a few other privileges that I’ll talk about later!

For now, I’d like to talk about Elizabeth Gilbert talking about creativity. Her session ‘How to be creative’ was something I could have listened to for hours.

For those of you who are going ‘who is Liz Gilbert?’, she is the author of Eat Pray Love, which seems to be her most famous book, and her most recent novel is The Signature of all Things. I haven’t read either but I follow her wise and frank writing on Facebook, where she dispenses real advice for real people. I say real advice because it’s not just airy fairy pronouncements from on high about changing your life.

So for an hour I listened and laughed with a room chock full of women hungry for her real talking about creativity.

There are a number of things I’ll note for you, but the main thing I took away from it was that I need to stop wanting what I create to be perfect and just get it done.

To not be afraid of what it might turn out to be or what people might say. As Gilbert said, the work will speak for itself and it can take the criticism. It’s the creator that needs the hand holding!

Some more takeaways for those who wish to create:

  • Do you have the courage?
  • Don’t make an idol out of your fear.
  • Bring fear along with creativity and let it have a ‘voice but not a vote’.
  • You have to have an entitlement to be creative ‘the arrogance of belonging’
  • Allow yourself to be part of the world (meaning all of the world and the creative world as well).
  • ‘I am part of everything and therefore I am entitled to be here and create.’
  • Stop complaining and get back to work.
  • Need to be a devoted half ass to do the work, not lazy and a perfectionist.
  • Done is better than good.
  • The flaw is not necessarily noticeable to others (apparently there is a character in Signature that is merely a plot device).
  • Your work is not your baby – you will want to protect it when it wants to be free. The work can take it, it’s you who can’t.
  • Fear stops you from creating – the space doesn’t need to be ‘holy’, don’t take it seriously and go somewhere soulless and create there.

I’ll write more on the different things she has said, but I hope that if you are reading this and you are a bit stuck on whatever your creative endeavour is, that this helps you along a little bit.

I look forward to seeing her again next year at the same event, and in fact I will make it more of a weekend and see more of those other sessions!

And remember this:

‘I am part of everything and therefore I am entitled to be here and create.’

Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring
A person

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