Thoughts on Creative Living & Fear
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels—that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place—that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert, “Big Magic”
I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic the last weekend. Since then, I have been thinking about creative living.
Of course, you can be creative in any job. How Gilbert defines creative living as a life driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.
How I see the “non-creative” is as a “rational, more secure, certain” living. This is because Elizabeth Gilbert says creativity asks you to enter into the realms of uncertainty.
This is why creative living is a path for the brave because fear hates uncertain outcomes.
However, that does not mean you must (or can) get rid of the fear to lead a creative life. In fact, it is not possible to do so.
Fear and creativity go hand-in-hand. Creativity will always trigger fear.
In fact, when people try to get rid of fear, they often end up inadvertently murdering their creativity in the process.
All you need to do is to learn to allow the fear to exist yet not allow it to drive your decisions.
Another thought that stuck about creative living from the book is about the income and day jobs. She says that it is unreasonable to put pressure to earn an income from your creativity, especially in the beginning years.
In fact, she maintained a full-time job even after writing 3 books that were published by major houses and reviewed nicely in the New York Times.
This is because financial demands can put a lot of pressure on delicate inspiration. You can scare away your creativity by demanding that it pay for your entire existence.
In her words about the work at her day job,
“I was always willing to work hard so that my creativity could play lightly”.
When I discussed this idea with a friend, he had a very interesting choice of words, to sum up the concept:
“So basically you tap into the creativity for your soul whereas you earn your physical living from regular means.”
It is not that I have not known this intuitively.
In fact, I feel I am on a similar path.
I am trying to develop a flexible source of income through my hard skills so that I can tap into my creativity and self-expression to do things I have always wanted to do but never had the means.
What is different is that I am yet to arrive at a place where my creativity could play lightly.
Maybe due to the middle-class upbringing with a scarce financial mindset, somewhere I feel a lot of pressure about finances even though things are not that bad. This sometimes fills me with anxiety and fear about the future that can take me out of the present moment flow that is essential for creative expression.
Now that I am aware of it, I can probably take steps to manage it.
It is a small yet significant realization about how I can approach creative living.
What do you think about this?
Have you ever faced this dilemma of balancing creativity with more practical aspects of life? How do you deal with it?
Let me know your thoughts!
Hope you are having a great week!
Until next time