Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert was on my reading list since it came out. Every one was talking about it and I couldn’t wait to read it. And at last, I did!
Before you continue to read my review, though, you should know that if you haven’t read this book there might be a few spoilers. Although I’m not sure this book can really have “spoilers”, but I do share my takeaway at the end. However, everyone’s takeaway will most likely be different after reading this book. Each creative person has different things they need to hear to feel confident in themselves as a creative person, and the things I needed to hear the most stood out the most. Your things may be different.
I love reading books about creativity. I love reading books where other creatives share their process. I love reading books that are inspiring and motivational. Big Magic was all of that and more.
The book itself is broken down into six categories: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust and divinity. These six words are perfect ways to describe the creative process, which just goes to show that Gilbert truly understands what it’s like to live a creative life, to work in a creative field, and to constantly work on honing one’s creative craft. Through various storytelling, pulled from her own life and the lives of others, Gilbert gave me the reassurance that I am not alone in my struggles, or my joys, when it comes to creating something out of nothing.
Throughout the book I loved that Gilbert really pushes her audience to understand that even though creating can be absolutely terrifying, it shouldn’t stop you. In her first section she shares the courage that creative people need, yet reminds us that it’s okay to be afraid, and that we shouldn’t try to get rid of fear, but instead embrace it and learn to live with it.
I think one of my favourite sections was Permission. I don’t know about you guys but I often wonder, “What makes me so special? What makes me feel like I have the right to be a writer, or an artist, or a blogger? Why should I get paid to do this when there are real careers out there that people need?” And then I read this section and I couldn’t help but smile because Gilbert told me, “You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.” And I believe her.
There are a lot of reasons that I enjoyed this book, even if it took me four months to finish it (I just wanted to soak it all in before moving on to the next part!). I seriously want to share quote after quote, but I realize that would be plagiarism because I’d be sharing almost the entire thing.
But the takeaway I was gifted was this: Creating something is scary, whether you share it with others or not. Even still, a creative person must continue to be create or they’ll eventually go mad. Most importantly, you do not need anyone’s permission to be creative, but it’s also okay to work full-time doing something else while you work on your creative projects in your spare time. And that doesn’t make you any less worthy of calling yourself a writer, or an artist, or whatever. It’s also okay to share work that’s “good enough.” And finally, her last words, “So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”
So there you have it guys. Big Magic needs to be on every creative person’s reading list!
Have you read Big Magic? If yes, what did you take away from the book? If not, do you want to?