Magical Thinking

A book arrived at my home the other day and I greeted it with much anticipation. The cover looked like candy, but I knew what was waiting inside was even better.

big magic

Elizabeth Gilbert chose the perfect title for her book about creativity. I devoured it within forty-eight hours, maybe less. It’s the kind of book you can literally open to any page and find a glittering gem of inspiration, a quote to hang on your wall, or keep close to your heart. She encourages curiosity, discipline, persistence, and play, among other things.

Persistence is key for me right now, and more specifically, persistence with the possibility of no pay-off. Gilbert nails all my fears and anxieties with this quote:

There is no guarantee of success in creative realms. Not for you, not for me, not for anyone. Not now, not ever.

Will you put forth your work anyhow?

The answer, simply, is yes.

I wrote about how I arrived at this conclusion on The Gift of Writing in an essay called, Magical Thinking: Creating Despite the Odds. Please visit me there if the topic resonates.

I’d love to hear what you think about persistence, and what passions you may be following with no guarantee of commercial success, and what keeps you motivated.

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25 thoughts on “Magical Thinking

  1. I’m just finishing Big Magic and found it to be so inspiring. A good reminder to keep creativity at the forefront of our lives. I had the opportunity to see Elizabeth Gilbert a couple of weeks ago on her book tour. I left feeling recommitted to my work.

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    • Oh, lucky you! I would love to attend one of her events. She seems like an invigorating speaker. It really is a great book, I’m looking forward to rereading.

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    • I think you’d be really into this book, Tamara. She has so many gorgeous images and ideas about creativity, including the concept that she believes ideas are in the air floating all around us, just waiting to be noticed. I kind of love that.

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  2. Dana, I’ve read your post at least three times, wanting to leave a comment. It falls so close to home. I feel as if the word persistent is tattooed on my forehead. Success has always been the name of the game–easy success actually. Until I started writing. But maybe that’s why I love it so. Somehow I missed this book until I read your post–looking forward to it.

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    • Cynthia, I feel the same way about the word, persistence! I feel like I’m always reminding myself that as long as I keep going, no matter the result, I’ll be ok. But it’s hard sometimes, especially when seeing other writers’ tangible successes. I love what Liz Gilbert says about generosity of spirit when it comes to other people’s success – there is plenty to go around.

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  3. I also read this book and loved it. Elizabeth Gilbert made me realize creativity is really a fragile gift. Putting too much pressure on your art (financial, success, fame, etc) can only hurt it. Words to live by.

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  4. I LOVED your post and can’t wait to dive into the book.
    I ordered it as soon as I read your article.

    So excited. And yes. The answer is yes.
    I will continue to put forth my work even without any guarantee.

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