I finished reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert two weeks ago. I think it took me about a whole week to read the whole book. I had a busy week, so I could only read a little bit each day.
I love this book. I like how Gilbert focuses on creative living. I think that’s what everybody needs in life. I agree with her when she says that we should do the work because we love it and because we want to do it rather than doing it for a result, whatever the result you want is.
I’ve always wanted to become a writer (of fiction), but I gave up so many times because I focused too much on the result. I was too serious about it. And because of that I didn’t enjoy it.
But I am a playwright, and I believe I became a playwright because I was not serious about being a playwright at all. I started writing plays for myself and for fun. When my play was performed by actors for the first time I was very excited about it. But I never told myself that one day I would become a playwright with big productions that sell tickets and stuff (well, I never have big productions, but we do sell tickets). I continued writing plays simply because it was fun and because I felt that I could express myself that way. But inspiration came to me quite often. And sometimes I sat down and wrote a whole short play in one sitting without knowing in advance what I was about to write. It was like something passed through me and became a play.
I’ve been writing plays for more than ten years now, and I still love everything about it. It’s true that I can’t make a living being a playwright, but I don’t intend to. I don’t even write scripts for a living because I told myself that this is something that I do just for myself. There are other ways to make a living that I don’t hate too much (like teaching theatre courses, writing research, and translating books). And so in my spare time I work for an independent theatre company as a playwright, actor, producer, and etc. And that is my creative life. I believe that if I was really serious about being a playwright or being in theatre, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I mean, I’m very serious about my work, but at the same time I’m not. And I think that’s really important balance to have.
Another thing I love to do is writing poetry. I started writing poetry when I was young, but I knew then that I could never make a living being a poet. So I continued writing just for myself. I have a poetry blog (actually I have two poetry blogs), and I write whenever I feel like it. To be honest, I don’t think I can live without writing poetry. It’s how I express myself, and who I am, and whatever I am feeling at the moment. I write when I’m happy, and I write when I’m really sad and have no one to lean on. I owe a lot to poetry. It’s one of the most important things in my life.
But it’s different with writing fiction. When I told myself that I wanted to become a published writer, I focused more on the end result. And I never wrote fiction for fun like I do plays and poetry.
While reading Big Magic I got to start thinking a lot about myself and my creative life. And it makes me want to start writing fiction again, just for myself, and maybe for a few more people who care to read. I think the most important thing is to live everyday creatively and happily. And that’s what I intend to do.