Welcome back to #ShutYourMonkey Month! We’re learning how to silence the inner critic that tries to keep us from being creative with tips from Danny Gregory’s new book Shut Your Monkey: How to Control Your Inner Critic and Get More Done, as well as other monkey-vanquishing inspiration. Here’s a post from Danny about a book near and dear to many creative people–Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. Though the book is mostly directed toward writers like Liz, her theories can be applied to visual arts. In fact, as you can see from Sketchbook Skool co-founder Koosje Koene’s cool infographic above, which is an excerpt from Big Magic, Liz herself turned to drawing as a way to get her own monkey off her back. Here’s Danny on monkeys and Magic:
I’ve been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book, Big Magic. The author of Eat Pray Love has become somewhat of a self-help guru and is now focussed on thinking about the creative process and how to overcome fear.
I really like the book. Liz has a wonderful, chatty writing style, confessional and inspiring. I was particularly caught up with one notion: that ideas are a life form that inhabit the world just like dogs and walruses and have a single purpose — to be made manifest. They appear to us creators and it is up to us to shun them or to adopt them.
If we do take them on, we now have a responsibility to show up and do the work to make them come to life. If we fail in holding up our end, the ideas will wither and then slip away. Ultimately it will then appear to someone else. Drag your feet if you must, but don’t be surprised if ‘your’ idea eventually blossoms attached to another artist’s name.
I love this idea. It takes away the pressure of judgment, of self-evaluation, and replaces it with a spark which it is up to us to kindle. We don’t own the idea. We are simply its collaborator. Liz’s perspective turns the wasteful drama of self flagellation into a joyous, if sweaty, dance.