Creativity Shouldn’t Be a Chore – A Course Creators Summary To The Book ‘Big Magic’
I recently moved house, 2,300km away to the other end of the State.
As I unpacked my boxes this past couple of weeks, I have also unpacked a surprisingly un-ignorable desire to paint.
Something that I haven’t done in ages – and because of a certain experience has almost made me scared to do….
I have always loved creating.
Painting was always one of my favourite forms of self-expression when I was younger – before I started obsessing about spending my time ‘productively’ and thinking that there was ‘no point in being creative unless what I create is so perfect that people will buy it’….
Ever felt like that??
Anyway, many years ago I just simply loved to paint.
I did an A-Level in Art and became a Trainee Art Teacher in an all-male prison in the UK as well as at a high school.
I loved it.
That was, until my passion caused an unexpected result…..
When we are passionate about something, it FLOWS.
It’s like your love and enjoyment turns on a tap and abundance in that thing just starts pouring out of it.
People wanted to buy my artwork.
And they did.
At first, I absolutely LOVED it!
“Whaaaattt I’m getting PAID to do my most favourite thing in the world?!”
I started getting commissioned to put on exhibitions of my work by galleries and corporate venues.
The town council asked me to run community workshops and manage the annual arts festival.
Even some old drunk bloke at the pub gave me all of his gambling money to paint a picture of his kid.
But the requests, demands and deadlines started piling up and suffocating me.
All of a sudden, this activity that I went to for peace, escapism, pleasure and passionate self-expression, became fraught with demands, expectations, standards, pressure, deadlines and people’s hard-earned cash.
Suddenly, something I’d loved my whole life became less fun.
It started to feel like something I HAD to do instead of something I GOT to do.
I started resenting it.
Soon, I started to fear it.
And I stopped
I haven’t stopped buying sketchbooks and over-priced paint since then as I’m dying to just paint, but they’ve sat empty and untouched and I have barely picked up a paintbrush ever since because I’ve attached so much ‘pressure and perfectionism’ to it from that experience.
And that’s what creating a course is like for many entrepreneurs.
Ever felt like this about your course creation?
You’re NOT ALONE!
We can become SO focussed on ‘what I produce MUST make me money and be adored by EVERYONE on Earth’, that we become stiffened, stifled, stressed and suffocated by the task – rather than excited, expressive and joyfully flowing in our educationally creative muse.
As soon as we start to feel the stress, fear and pressure set in – we MUST remember that this is our EGO interrupting our greatness and trying to stop our soul from being what it is.
If you feel some inner urge compelling you to create something, then you were MADE to create it.
It is literally your soul purpose, your instinct, driving you to what you were born for.
When you do what you were born to do – it is nothing but joy.
However, when our ego is allowed to enter the party, that’s when the pain sets in and tries to stop us living our destiny.
When you feel this way, you are NOT failing, you are NOT on the wrong path, you are NOT useless…. You just need to evict the ego and carry on doing what you are here to do – share your knowledge, thoughts and learnings with the world.
I’m going to paint a picture over the next few weeks.
Why don’t you create your course?
We can turn on the taps of creativity together!
My Favourite Bits For Course Creators from The Book ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert
One book I read (for a second time) in 2020 was ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.
It is SUCH a great read for anyone going through a creativity freeze, course creation procrastination or simple over-perfectionism.
It’s a book about how creativity works – not scientifically or biologically – but in a mindset way.
I found some snippets in this book that I found really resonated with me as a course creator, so thought I would share some of my favourite lines with you here.
Ok so its less of a formal ‘summary’ and more of a ‘my favourite things’ from it.
Some of these I have changed to specifically speak to the course creator.
Those in quotations come straight from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book.
What would you do if you knew that you could not fail? STRIKE THAT.
Elizabeth says “What would you do ANYWAY, even if you KNEW you might fail?”
What do you love doing so much that there isn’t really any such thing as ‘success’ or ‘failure’?
Elizabeth then suggests that you might ask “Why should I go through all of the trouble to make something if the outcome might be nothing?”
The answer will usually come as a wicked trickster grin “Because it’s FUN, isn’t it?”.
Anyhow, what else are you going to do with your time here on earth – NOT make things? Not do interesting stuff?
Not follow your [course creation] curiosity?
There is always that alternative after all. You have free will.
If creative living becomes too difficult or too unrewarding for you, you can stop whenever you want.
But seriously: REALLY?
Because think about it: THEN WHAT??”
(Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, Page259)
“I have never created anything in my life that did not make me feel like I was the guy who just walked into a fancy ball, wearing a homemade lobster costume.
But, you must stubbornly walk into that room regardless, and you must hold your head high.
You made it: you get to put it out there.
Never apologise for it, never explain it away, never be ashamed of it.
You did your best, with what you knew, and you worked with what you had, in the time you were given.
You were invited and you showed up.
You simply cannot do more than that”.
(Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic, Page 263)
“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcomes, and fear hates uncertain outcomes”.
One of my favourite little excerpts is a speech that Elizabeth has prepared for her ego ‘Fear’.
Whenever she is about to commence a creative task, she makes this little speech to fear (and I LOVE it!):
Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together and I understand you will be joining us because you always do.
I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life and that you take your job seriously.
Apparently, your job is to induce complete panic whenever I am about to do anything interesting, and may I say you are superb at your job.
So, by all means, keep doing your job if you feel you must, but I will also be doing my job on this road trip – which is to work hard and stay focused.
Creativity will be doing its job which is to remain stimulating and inspiring.
There is plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home but understand this:
Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way.
I recognise and respect that you are part of this family and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still – your suggestions will never be followed.
You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote.
You’re not allowed to touch the road maps, you’re not allowed to suggest detours, you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature.
Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio.
But above all else my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive”.
“One morning you open up the newspaper and discover that somebody else has written your book, or directed to a play, or released your record, or produced your movie, or founded your business, or [launched your course], or patented your invention; or in any way whatsoever manifested some spark of inspiration that you’d had years ago – but had never entirely cultivated it, or had never gotten around to finishing it.
This may vex you but it really shouldn’t, because you didn’t deliver.
You didn’t show up ready enough, or fast enough, or openly enough for the idea to take hold within you and complete itself.
Therefore the idea went hunting for a new partner, and somebody else got to make it instead”.
“Work with all your heart because I promise if you show up for your work day after day, after day, after day, you might get lucky enough to some random morning, burst right into Bloom”
Elizabeth talks about how our creative acts become our vocation (such as how creating courses is our incomes stream), and that this can cause us pain as we ‘have to be the best’, be amazing, get it perfect, beat the competition etc….
“Such thinking assumes that there is a ‘top’ and reaching it, and staying there, is the only motive one has to be creative.
Such thinking assumes that the mysteries of inspiration operate on the same scale that we do – on a limited human scale of ‘success and failure’, of winning and losing, comparison and competition, of commerce and reputation, of units sold, and of influence wielded.
Such thinking assumes that you must be constantly ‘victorious’, not only against your peers but also against an earlier version of your own poor self.
Most dangerously of all, such thinking assumes that if you cannot win, then you must not continue to play [be creative].
What does any of that have to do with the quiet glory of merely making things, and then sharing those things with an open heart and no expectations?”
“In the end, creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience.
Just [create] anything and put it out there with reckless abandon”.
“Who the hell do you think you are [to create and publish this]?” Your darkest interior voices will demand.
“I have a right to my own voice and a right to my own vision.
I have a right to collaborate with creativity because I myself am a project and consequence of Creation.
I’m on a mission of creative liberation, so let this girl go”
“I have an idea, but I am afraid it has already been done”
Well, yes; it probably has already been done. Most things have already been done; but they have not yet been done by you.
But once you put your own expression and passion behind an idea that idea becomes yours”
“Do whatever brings you to life then follow your own fascinations, obsessions and compulsions. Trust them to create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
The rest of it will take care of itself”
“Go more deeply and bravely inward and take an honest inventory of the education you already have, the years you have lived, miles you have endured, and the skills you have learned along the way.
You already know so much more than you think you know.
You are not finished you are merely ready.
We need you to reveal to us what you know, what you have learned, what you have seen and felt”
And as for resilience – something that we need oodles of as course creators, here is something I LOVED from Elizabeth….
Whenever she got a criticism or rejection letter from a publicist she would say to herself:
“You think you scare me off?
I’ve got another 80 years to wear you down!
There are people who haven’t even been born yet who are gonna reject me someday – that’s how long I plan to stick around”
So there you have it.
From a highly successful, world famous creative.
Don’t let your creativity become a chore to your ego’s need to ‘win’, ‘succeed’ and ‘prosper’ – for success and prosperity lie in the making, the creating, the pure joy of self-expression.
The end result of fame, influence and fortune is a bonus and can ONLY come if your true expression is allowed to flow out of you by un-restrained creative flow.
Got an idea for a course?
Go make it NOW and enjoy the amazing, crazy, creative journey.
You’ll not only help others grow, you’ll grow yourself whilst you’re at it.
And if you havn’t yet, don’t forget that you can grab an 80% discount on my program “How To Create Profitable Online Courses” right now by clicking this link: www.sarahcordiner.com/createcourse.