It all started a four years ago now, when I was seized with this crazy, inexplicable urge to write. It was so intense and persistent that I would wake up in the middle of the night and fill notebooks with free-form poetry and short scenes that I never planned to show to anyone. I had always been a voracious reader, but the more I wrote, the more I began to sense this previously un-accessed place in my soul glowing with liberation; I didn't know what to make of it.
It wasn't long before I began to dream of writing a novel.
And as soon as I dared to voice that dream, it was nearly swallowed by self-doubt. I was a musician, not a writer, the voices told me. I wasn't trained in this...Hell, at the time I wasn't even clear on what an adverb was beyond a confusing School House Rock jingle that bounced about vaguely in the recesses of my mind. There were glaring gaps in my skill-set, and I feared being discovered as a fraud from a mile away. I doubted whether I was good enough to warrant even beginning. Real writers had degrees in writing and had taken college courses on archetypal story arcs...
I couldn't do it. I wasn't ready, and I didn't know how I ever could be.
Enter Elizabeth Gilbert and her wondrous book, Big Magic.
At the time, my artist friends had been posting about this book online, and though I'd never read the author's other works, the subtitle, "Creative Living Beyond Fear," captured my interest enough for me to give it a try.
It did not disappoint. The book was profound, simple, and ephemeral, and quite literally made me cry. It was one of the most liberating pieces of nonfiction I have ever held in my hands, and it gave me the push I needed to let go of ego and fear of failure and dive headfirst into writing, come what may.
If you've read it, you know what I'm talking about.
Through her book, Elizabeth Gilbert gave me permission to write, and the freedom to claim my place at the table as a creative while simultaneously holding those creations lightly. I have always been an overly serious person, but she taught me how to play and dabble in different art forms simply because I was human, because I was here, and because I wanted to.
Letting go of fear and perfectionism changed everything for me. I threw myself into learning this craft, and three years after that, I had written two full-length novels (one as a ghostwriter) and become a full-time freelance writer. Now I live as a nomad, traveling and working with clients from all over the world, and am in the process of finding a home for my newest novel.
It has been an incredible, meaningful journey, that I can trace back to this book and my Big Magic movement.
It is a gift to get to share my voice and throw myself whole-heartedly into something I love. Who knows, maybe I'll achieve accidental brilliance along the way. Either way, success or not, I'm rather attached to my imperfect art, and even more attached to the spark of creativity I've been entrusted with nurturing.
Friend, you too are one brave leap away from a wonderful existence. From giving form to the inspiration that beckons in your soul. You should do it. You should jump.
I plan to spend the rest of my short life like this—in the company of artists like Liz
with Big Magic tucked under my arm
tripping along my way
my spark will lead me.