Having the guts to make fearless art takes work and practice—just ask Olivia Rodrigo. The singer-songwriter and actress is doing the rounds in promotion of her acclaimed new album, GUTS, and doling out some fantastic advice for any creative souls out there looking for inspiration.
In a video feature from GQ, Rodrigo breaks down the 10 things she cannot live without. And in addition to having fantastic taste in weighted blankets (we're biased—we own the same one), Rodrigo is also obsessed with two things that have also helped us and countless other creatives in pursuit of their art: journaling and the book Big Magic.
During the 8-minute clip, Rodrigo's favorite things center around how she dealt with the pressure of putting out a second album, particularly after the huge critical and commercial success of her debut, SOUR. A big part of getting over that internalized pressure included her love of journaling, which she's done since she was thirteen.
"When I was kind of having trouble overcoming lots of the pressure of making a sophomore record, I read The Artist's Way," she explains. It was in Julia Cameron's truly essential book that Rodrigo learned about morning pages—the process of writing three pages, stream of consciousness, first thing in the morning by hand every day—and found the act to be extremely clarifying and helpful to her own creative process and general mindset.
"It's nice to be able to write something down and not judge it in the moment ... or wonder if it's going to make any money or be criticized, which I think is the point," Rodrigo notes.
And she's exactly right: that is the point of morning pages, and a vital one at that. All too often, those of us with creative passions or pursuits judge ourselves so harshly or worrying too much about commercial viability or value, that we end up getting in our own way and not making/doing the thing at all. This is, essentially, creative death. Which is why morning pages are so helpful to so many: the act of writing long-hand makes it a physical act rather than a mental one, and helps connect you to your own creative truths. But don't just take our and Olivia's word for it—read Cameron's book yourself!
Of course, if more inspiration is needed, there's always Rodrigo's hands-down favorite book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. The only thing she's read more than once (by her account), Rodrigo explains that the book was "so instrumental to her creative journey" that her first album (which she was working on while reading Big Magic for the first time) "would [not] have turned out the way that it did had I not read this book. It was so instrumental in my creative journey."
She even went on to thank Gilbert for changing her life with the book. And, having also read this one, we have to agree: Gilbert is fearless and passionate in her writing about pursuing a creative life (professionally or otherwise), and the energy she has for this calling leaps off the page and may just slap the insecurity right out of you. Both practical in advice and, yes, magical in its approach, it's no wonder Rodrigo has become its acolyte.
So next time you're feeling a bit unsure about yourself? Take a page out of Rodrigo's journal, and dig into one of these two books.
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Alicia Lutes is a writer—all kinds—based in Los Angeles, who has written extensively on culture, entertainment, and mental health. Her work has been featured in places such as Playboy, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, MTV, Cosmopolitan, Rotten Tomatoes, Bustle, and more. Previously, she was Managing Editor at Nerdist, as well as creator/former host of the web series Fangirling. She has been known to perform comedy and is also her own grandpa, so biographies are incredibly hard for her.
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