Published on April 2, 2018, at 4:26 p.m.
by Allie Binford.
“Q: What is creativity??
A: The relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration.” These are the opening lines to Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic.” I recently read this book because outside of my aspirations of being a public relations professional, I enjoy indulging in my creative side through journaling, reading and photography. I found Gilbert’s book thanks to a recommendation from a friend, but little did I know how much I would learn about my professional life through this book about creative living.
The premise of “Big Magic” is getting “insight into the mysterious nature of inspiration” from an award-winning New York Times best-selling author, Elizabeth Gilbert. But rather than being an autobiographical exposé about how she finds and uses inspiration to fulfill her job requirements, Gilbert expounds on how every individual can find and harness their own source of creative energy. As you can imagine, the pages of my copy are decorated in highlighter and ink. I flipped through the book and noted some quotes that I found to be applicable not only to me, but also to anyone looking for a more inspired way to approach public relations.
“I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”
Wonder is something we not only appreciate but relish in when we’re young. We’re constantly asking questions, making mistakes and learning from what we discover. But as we grow older we start to lose our impulse for curiosity and settle into the habit of only learning what needs to be learned for the task at hand. This type of learning is dangerous, especially today, because if we only know so much about our side of life, it is easy to become unaware of other opinions, points of view and information that could be important to consider when making decisions for a brand, company or figure.
You should be inspired by what you’re working with, especially if you’re working in a specific specialty. Be curious about anything and everything in your field of work: current events, new strategies and important people. If you indulge your curiosity and let it lead you down different paths of discovery, you not only improve your work ethic but also your expertise in your area, making you a better practitioner.
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”
In my opinion, approaching public relations as a typical 9-to-5 desk job simply sets you up for failure. Not only will you fall behind quickly because of time-sensitive deadlines and quick-fire crisis situations, but you will also produce less impressive work. Whether you’re writing a speech for a politician, dishing out press releases for a kitchen appliance company, or running the social media for Wendy’s you have to find something in your work that inspires you.
Look to competitors and see what they do that makes you laugh, cry or feel something. Look through past releases from your company to see what flaws frustrate you and fix them. Find something that makes you wonder how it could be done better and find a way to make those improvements in your own work. The more you want to do your work, the more impressive your work becomes, and the more fulfilled you feel.
“Whatever it is you are pursuing, whatever it is you are seeking, whatever it is you are creating, be careful not to quit too soon.”
It is so easy to call it a day when you’ve checked all the boxes on your to-do list. You’ve fulfilled what’s necessary for you to complete, and the work is done. Your finished product may not be exactly what you were hoping for in the beginning, but it fits the bill and you know your boss will be satisfied with the level of work you put in. Except you know you could have taken it a step farther, or maybe two or three. Rather than settling for a lackluster version of your project, take the time to do it right and do it well.
Whether you were inspired in the beginning, finishing a project the way you set out to — or exceeding your primary expectations — can spark a desire in you to create more and do more. Proving to yourself that your hard work and dedication can pay off in the end can motivate you to do it again and again. In the end, all you need is that initiative to want to better yourself and your work.
Living creatively isn’t only for those with creative talents. Creativity is something you can infuse into the most mundane of tasks by letting inspiration guide your daily life.