Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Creativity doesn't care about results

Elizabeth Gilbert BigMagic book tour

“Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

It’s been just over a year since I first read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living without Fear, a delightful exploration about how each one of us can awaken and nurture our creativity. This should be required reading for every creative. It resonated so deeply with me then, that I gave it to many friends and family last year for the holidays.

When I learned Elizabeth was bringing her #BigMagicTour to New York City to promote the paperback release of her book, I jumped at the chance to hear her speak in person. It was definitely a highlight of my September (that had more than its share of trouble with mercury in retrograde and all that... ) and I wanted to share my experience with you.

My night was VERY different from what I expected. . .
Imagine this Cathedral filled with weepy women clutching their Eat Pray Love books

When I walked into the cathedral that evening with a friend from my husband’s work, every single pew was packed with women as well as a few men sprinkled among them.

Elizabeth’s talk in New York City was just a few weeks after she shared on Facebook that she not only loved her best friend Elias, she realized she was IN love with her. To prevent her talk that evening from getting off track with questions about the gossip surrounding her love life, she addressed the group obliquely saying she would not talk about it. She actually addressed it without directly addressing it, but we all got the message.

Elizabeth gilbert Big Magic tour at the Open Center in nyc
Elizabeth Gilbert
I figured since the tour was called #BigMagic, the evening would be a discussion of the main messages in her book; however the first hour of her presentation was all fresh content. She shared entertaining stories from her experiences on her book tour. Most of her tales were humorous, but a very poignant segment for me was when she went deep about the connection between humans and dogs. She talked about animal instincts, and how our dogs teach us about death and complete the human they are attached to. As many of you know, the concept of animal spirits is often a part of my art classes, and I’ve always believed when an animal crosses my path they are delivering to me secret messages from the spirit world.

The second hour was dedicated to audience questions. She warned us to ask questions and not share stories. True to her word if someone started sharing a story, she told the usher to take away the microphone!

Command without commandeering

I found Elizabeth’s command of the audience refreshing and interesting. She used humor and grace. She was firm, yet friendly. She communicated her expectations without making us feel like she was dictating. And you know what? Nobody asked her a question about her love life.

Live a life driven by curiosity and not held back out of fear

Although I couldn’t take you all with me to experience Elizabeth’s magic first-hand, I hope you will grab a copy of Big Magic and read her inspiring words for yourself.

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? . . . The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living.”

We all have the capacity to build up our courage. When we embrace our curiosity and face down our fears, we can tackle just about anything.

So, what’s it going to be?

Learn to fly a plane? To draw? To speak French or to pursue that dream you gave up long ago?

Whatever it is, don’t be afraid. You can do it with Big Magic!

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Hello! I'm Miriam Schulman and I create mixed media art to tell stories. I also teach other people how to craft their stories with art. I give them the techniques they need to get the results they desire which brings more joy to their lives.

My art has been published by Somerset Studio, Art of Man and the New York Times among others and collected by an international audience. When I'm not working on art in my studio, you'll find me in a museum spending time with friends or family. Explore my art at or join the fun at