How Liz Gilbert Helped Me Find "Big Magic"

Thanks, Liz Gilbert!

While reading Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic, I kept finding myself in awe of each short jewel of a chapter. I’ve been thinking about how her poised words fit so beautifully into this new chapter.

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The Quick Background

Some who know me know that at a young age I began taking photos. On a tour of Italy, I remember designating myself as the family photographer, grasping to a camera (Nikon? Cannon?) and vainly relishing in the beauty of my own pictures. What I saw in the lens seemed lovelier than what my two eyes could see. I was fascinated that I could feel such control in an outcome.

I kept at it. It was playful. It was not a “burdening art,” a “career path” or anything insufferable. People eventually asked if they could pay me – wait, me, a 16 year old girl? – to take photos of their kids (my classmates) playing soccer or dolled up for a family portrait.

I did not know I was following crumbs of inspiration. 

This was not “work.”

I wonder what drew me to studying art in college. I had always studied hard. My self-worth was attached value to an “A” or an “A-.” So why choose something like art over biology or math?

Suddenly, these marks were placed in the context of my creativity… A process which for four years was never graded for its worth; but rather adorned with a gold star for participation.

My creativity had never been judged, it just had been.

In a very abrupt decision, I “dropped out” of art school after three semesters. Not only that, I dropped photography completely. My focus shifted to other things in that season of life: getting a job with a predictable salary, prioritizing friendships final months of college counted down. 

Not a bad thing, right?

Reading Liz Gilbert’s wonderfully expressed thoughts on a creative life was finding a relic of truth in each sentence.

“A creative life is not job security.”

That totally resonates with the 20 year old Elle! I chose to use the last three years of college as a job search, tinkering with accounting classes, teaching seminars, leadership positions… My "why" at the time: financial and career stability. 

Now, I’ve learned that it is okay to change the rules. It’s okay to change those values. It's okay to change your "why."

A New Season of Life.

As I come up on my 25th birthday – I am absolutely craving creativity. My life’s creative pool is a dry cracking dirt, begging for water to keep it alive!

It used to be so fun to create without expectation or placing value on the outcome – to experiment in something beautiful and expose it to the world. To not let the fear of failure hold me back.

Not only that, but I’ve been awakened by the idea that career and creativity do not have to be synonymous for a fulfilling life. While it would be great to make something out of pure creativity and get paid a very fortunate salary for it, that does not have to be the only way to make this work.

So while I'm not going to just quit my responsibilities at work to be a street artist...

I need to be more creative about being creative. 

I am committing to making space for a creative life, both in and outside of my career, and I’d like to begin sharing that here with you!

My genuine intention is that by making mistakes, learning, and sharing, I’ll leave you with a little inspiration to grow on your own journey to your best self.

- Lauren

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