Watch a true champion of creativity say the most inspiring and profound things you've heard in a long time.By Reid ArmbrusterAug 10, 2016 12:11 PM
We caught up with the brilliant, best-selling author — and sometime audiobook narrator — to discuss her impassioned manifesto on inspiration and creativity (aka, Big Magic), the unexpected and profound impact of Eat, Pray, Love, the secret to karaoke success, and a whole lot more.
1.) For me, the most interesting part of that entire engagement is not necessarily the thing that you end up making. It’s what making that thing does to you internally. And what that is, is big magic, because it unfolds aspects of yourself that you never knew you had.
2.) A fear-based life becomes a very small life, and a very small life becomes a very bored and boring life, and I just feel like it’s too interesting a world, and too interesting an opportunity to be a human being, to just let fear constantly do the driving.
3.) It’s not real until it’s been given a voice. Your soul has to hear you say it. I really do feel like it’s not enough to write it down. That still is a whisper, right? You have to overhear yourself say these words. And I think we’ve all had experiences in our lives where something comes out of our mouth before we had even thought it through.
4.) I’m not interested in being fearless. I’m interested in becoming brave, and there’s a big difference there. And to be fearless means you don’t even know what fear is, which means you’re missing a huge part of what it is to be a human being. To be brave means that you keep going anyway.
5.) There’s that lovely line, “Make an argument for your limitations and you get to keep them.” I’d been arguing really hard for my limitations, and there is a place in the world for recognizing your vulnerabilities and recognizing your weaknesses, and then there’s a place where you say to yourself, “Okay, but yeah, enough.” Enough, because what I realized was that my fears were keeping my life very boring, and I didn’t want to have a boring life.
6.) I don’t like perpetuating the myth that you can get rid of your fear, rather than learning how to make reluctant friends with it.
7.) A creative life is any life where you consistently, and habitually, make your decisions based on curiosity rather than fear. That’s it. If you choose curiosity over fear again and again—not just once, not just twice, not just at some particular key moment, but habitually—you’ll end up creating a life that is different than anybody else’s life.
8.) In the artistic or the creative worlds, the contradiction that I think you have to be able to imbibe if you want to be sane is, “What I’m creating right now is the most important thing in the entire world and it doesn’t matter at all.”
9.) My concern is not that the world is filled with crappy art. My concern is that the world is filled with millions and millions of people who are not making anything, and it is in our nature to be makers. People who are just being told that they’re here to produce and consume and be a cog in the machine. That’s not enough for human beings. So, go make your art even if it might not be “good,” whatever that even means, whoever gets to determine that. Because something will happen to you in the making of that that will be very worth doing.
10.) The rule of karaoke is the same as the rule of life, which is: “The only way to embarrass yourself is to not throw yourself into it one hundred percent.” That’s it. Otherwise you look dumb. But if you’re one hundred percent committed, you always look kind of cool, no matter how bad it turns out.