I recently read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, a treatise about the creative process and living a creative life. I found it to be one of the most realistic accounts of the ups and downs of “making art”, and simultaneously one of the most inspirational. I think I will keep it handy for when I have one of those days where I am ready to throw in the blogging towel!

One of the key concepts that I learned in the book is from the chapter “An Idea Goes Away.” Gilbert writes that she often has ideas, but if they are unaddressed, the idea will vanish. “If inspiration is allowed to unexpectedly enter you, it is also allowed to unexpectedly exit you,” she writes.

Don’t I know it! I have a whole list of blog ideas that sounded good at the time: a comment from a friend, an article in the paper, an observation while out wandering — that are now just sitting there — on a list. The words are there, but the inspiration is not, or as Gilbert would put it, the soul of the idea is gone. 

It causes unnecessary angst for me — the paradox that I have a list full of ideas, yet nothing to write about. It reminds me that I need to act quickly on turning the notion into a dot, or the idea will go away, even if the topic remains in my consciousness.

What ideas do you have that have taken up residence with someone else because you did not give them attention in a timely manner? Have you missed out on chances to create your art (whether that be in business, hobbies or fine arts pursuits) because you ignored the window when the idea had life? Did the delay in acting on a notion turn it into work instead of play when you finally did give it attention?

When the next idea comes calling, be ready. You don’t want it to let the magic get away.

beth triplett

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, 2015

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