Creativity is like Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans, a risk with every mouthful.
“You want to be careful with those. When they say every flavour, they mean every flavour — you know, you get all the ordinary ones like chocolate and peppermint and marmalade, but then you can get spinach and liver and tripe. George reckons he had a bogey flavoured one once.”
With every new creation, you dare to eat another Bertie Bott. Even with a solid idea-to-paper process, your creativity will surprise you. You feel moody, surprised, vulnerable, depressed, and enthusiastic while writing the same paragraph. The dynamics make creative work harder than cognitive work, but you can learn to play with it.
Elizabeth Gilbert chewed more Bertie Botts than most of us. She’s been a writer for almost three decades and the personification of a self-made creative-genius. If you read her books about chasing happiness, 19th-century botany, and sexual liberation in the 40s, you’ll see nothing but growth.
From 2007 to 2019, her writing style and content depth drastically evolved. And, lucky for us, her 2015 book takes us through her insights on creativity. Here they are.
“When courage dies, creativity dies with it.”
Fear is part of any creative process. You might fear your lack of talent, inspiration, professionalism, experience. You might fear other people’s opinions, or, even worse, your own judgment. You might fear you’re too old or too young to start. See? Fear is intertwined with creativity.
“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome,” Gilbert writes. “In fact, it seems to me that my fear and my creativity are basically conjoined twins — as evidenced by the fact that creativity cannot take a single step forward without fear marching right alongside it.”
You don’t need to be fearless to strive for your creative endeavors. But don’t let fear take the lead. Gilbert uses a car metaphor to describe the role of fear: “You’re allowed to have a seat, and…