In this post, I am sharing 13 lessons I learned from the book Big Magic from Elizabeth Gilbert. I love this book and try to read it every 6 months because I always take something new away from this book. And today I’m sharing some with you!
You can buy the book here and I highly recommend it if you are creative in any way. (Affiliate link; I may earn a small commission if you purchase the book through my link, but I only ever recommend something I have used/read myself).
The lessons are sightly related to cross stitch but mostly to creativity in general.
You can listen to my lessons below or keep scrolling to read them instead.
This episode is sponsored by my how to cross stitch course for beginners. If you’re looking for a short cut to learning how to stitch then this course is for you. With11 modules made up of most video tutorials learning to cross stitch has never been easier.
The 13 Lessons Learned from the Book Big Magic
1. Don’t play the comparison game
Comparing yourself to others is the worst thing you can do to your creativity. When I’m working on a cross stitch design I actively choose to not go on Instagram anymore.
Quiet the distractions and if that includes unfollowing people who make you feel bad about your work or you get jealous then don’t feel bad about that. You can re-follow them later when you’re out of that phase.
2. Enjoy the process and let go of perfectionism
When you are stitching try not to worry about what the finished piece will look like or what you will do with another cross stitch piece. Just enjoy the process of stitching.
And if you do manage to finish – yay, but don’t then nitpick all the things that could have been better. Yes, it’s OK to learn and improve but nothing will ever be perfect.
Perfect is “the enemy of the realistic, the possible and the fun”.
3. Inspiration is never far away
“Choose to trust that inspiration is always nearby”.
When we are in a rut try to remember that you won’t always be there. I’ve been in enough now to know that you will get out of it.
It’s hard to do in the moment but try looking back at all the ideas you’ve had already or all of the things you have stitched.
4. Finishing a project is an achievement in its own right
Your finished projects, if you choose to sell them or enter them into competitions, don’t have to make you millions or come fist every time for you to feel proud. You should feel proud that you actually finished it.
5. Show up for your creativity
When you’re working on your project sometimes it’s nice to get dressed, put on some make-up if you wear it, brush your hair etc. It can make you feel so much more productive.
Sometimes inspiration hits when we’ve just woke up, we have bed head and still in our PJs but if you are planning a stitching session or some other project then get ready for it. Unless of course, it’s a stitching-and-relaxing-in-front-of-the-TV session then pajamas are required dress code. I guess this depends on why you are stitching. For me sometimes I just need to stitch with no distractions and get it finished for work. That’s when I ned to show up for stitching.
6. Everyone can be creative
Something that I have spoken about a lot on this podcast. You can be an accountant and like to come home and cross stitch.
“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust – and those elements are universally accessible”.
7. Expect to make sacrifices for your cross stitch
When my kids are in school it would be very easy for me to watch Netflix all day but I don’t. I choose to make time for designing patterns, stitching them and things like recording this podcast, writing blogs etc.
In fact, my TV watching has dropped dramatically since I started cross stitching and reading more but I’m OK with that.
I’m willing to make sacrifices for this.
8. You have to love what you’re doing enough to actually do it
Making those sacrifices can lead to resentment if we don’t love what we are doing. You have to want to cross stitch enough and want to finish a piece enough that you actually sit down and do it. It’s no good saying you want to cross stitch more but then not. There’s nothing wrong obviously with wanting a break sometimes but if you start sacrificing things for your cross stitch projects or other craft projects, will it be worth it to you?
9. You can start whenever you want
It’s not too late to start no matter your age. When I started my blog I thought it was too late at first. Even going back to school and doing a degree that I started this year I felt like it was too late. For those of you who don’t know I recently started school again.
But in the book Elizabeth tells the story of an 80-year-old woman who went to school to study. It is not too late to start any new hobby or business or project.
10. Your cross stitch doesn;t have to change the world
Sometimes there’s this pressure on us to do something amazing with our art, but and that’s not always a good thing. We can do cross stitch just for fun and that’s ok. We don’t have to turn it into a business or a movement or a charity. We can keep it just for ourselves and sometimes that’s the best thing.
“Your reasons to create are reason enough”.
11. Ideas are alive and they don’t belong to any 1 person
When we have an idea for a new pattern or project we want to create we feel like it’s ours and ours alone. And then if we see someone else creating what we had an idea about it can make us feel awful.
I’ve had it many times and it’s the worst feeling. However, after reading this book I can honestly say I only get those feelings 1% of the time. I now see ideas as things that move from person to person and some people take action on them and some don’t. And that’s OK.
If you see someone doing something you had an idea for, know it’s ok to either do it as well or let them carry on and wait for a new idea to strike.
Elizabeth tells the most wonderful story about her and another author but I don’t want to give it away here. Read the book.
“Trust in the miraculous truth that new and marvelous ideas are looking for human collaborators every single day”.
12. You don’t need permission
It can be hard when there’s a million other things we feel that we should be doing and do we really deserve time to sit and cross stitch?
Well yes you do and I’m assuming that a lot of you make time for it because you’re listening to a podcast about cross stitch in the first place. But sometimes we just need to hear that it’s ok. We are allowed to be creative.
Elizabeth talks about how we as a species have always been creative and creating things is just in us. So let it out.
13. Creativity is magic
I absolutely believe creativity is a little bit of magic that is much needed in our world. And every time you create a cross stitch piece or even just start creating one you are creating something magical.
“Creativity is a force of enchantment – not entirely human in its origins.”
Cross Stitch Kit of The Month
This month I am recommending one of my own; my Polar Bear cross stitch kit! It comes with a 3-inch Flexi hoop, hand-dyed aida and glitter threads. Shop it below.
Polar Bear Cross Stitch Kit£12.99