Big Magic Book Review

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.

Big Magic Book Review

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?
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7 Comments

  1. I’ve been wanting to read Big Magic because it seems so inspirational. I really love seeing other creatives process, too. I feel like I can always learn from others by seeing their process. This book really sounds incredible.

  2. I read this book a year ago and still find myself thinking about some of the concepts and quotes that were in it, so it’s definitely had an impact on me.

  3. I havent read it but it is in my basket on Amazon! I loved Eat Pray Love by EG though and have heard nothing but good things about this book!

  4. I’ve wanted to read this book for forever and I just ordered it…can’t wait to read it

  5. I have to say I skipped the spoilers because I’m actually just starting to read it now! I’ve gotten a few pages in and felt a bit flat about it, so I decided to park it and try again. I’ll have to have another crack today!

  6. This has been on my To Read list for ages but I haven’t picked it up, yet. But after reading your review, I think I will! I think this will have a lot for me. I struggle with the need for permission too and constantly feel like a fraud. Usually I don’t read advice books at all which is why I was sceptical but I’ve heard so many good things about it.

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