Best-selling Author Elizabeth Gilbert on Finding the Courage to Live a Creative Life

February 3, 2017 - Article reads in
Elizabeth Gilbert stands onstage speaking in front of the audience

What does it really take to unlock your creative core and live your most inspired and empowered life? That’s what Elizabeth Gilbert tackles in her latest book, “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.”

This week, the best-selling author of “Eat, Pray, Love” and many other works joined the Target team for an Outer Spaces innovation talk. There, she shared eye-opening tips for addressing challenges at work, daring to follow dreams, and infusing everyday life with mindfulness and passion. In recent years, she’s put these ideas to practical use while touring the world and meeting her fans. Here are a few of her words of wisdom:

Liz Gilbert stands smiling next to a fan looking at her smartphone

Stay alert and present in life—that’s when the great ideas come to you.
“I imagine ideas swirling around in the universe looking for a human collaborator. When you’re listening, ideas come to you like invitations. It’s that feeling where you get chills and butterflies—an idea saying ‘do you want to work with me?’ But most people don’t notice them because we’re drowning out the moment watching TV, playing with our phones. So that’s my manifesto: Remain here, awake in this moment, so that you’re the one ideas can land on.”

Remember that you’re living life now, not waiting for it to begin.
“It’s so easy to get trapped in the idea that life will start later, when you lose 30 pounds, have a child, get that job or finalize your divorce. So you float along, waiting for the day to come. But nothing is ever promised, so you have to be brave and live in the moment, do the thing you want to do right now. The single most creative thing you can do is turn an obstacle into an opportunity.”

Fear walks side-by-side with courage.
“Really. The world is scary and we should be afraid. Fear is human. So if you’re creating excuses not to take a risk and embark on your dream, I guarantee you’re afraid. It takes courage to say, ‘I’m terrified, but I’m going to do this thing because I want to change me,’ or ‘to show up for someone else,’ or whatever your motivation is. You have to face those fears in order to unlock your creativity.”

Boredom is a part of passion, so get comfortable feeling it during any creative process.
“A lot of people dive into a new project or relationship when they’re feeling passionate. But eventually, boredom sets in, and they think they’ve lost interest. So they give up. They don’t realize that boredom is part of the process. Hell, 90% of what I do as a writer is boring. Hours of tedium and research. But it’s worth the other 10%—those fizzy, bubbly moments where I’m ignited, that change my life. They’re everything. So if you feel like inspiration has left, it hasn’t. Be patient and understanding with yourself, and it will come back to you.”

Want to hear more from Elizabeth? Check out her renowned TED Talk, Your Elusive Creative Genius.

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