Book Review of “Big Magic” Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Amongst my Christmas gifts this year I received “Big Magic” from my youngest son Ben. Not unprompted to be fair, unlike Teear he’s brilliant at hints (or rather direct instruction!). Being a big fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, the number one bestselling author of the awesome book “Eat Pray Love” and having recently embarked on creating this blog, I had to read her latest intriguingly titled book.
“Big Magic” is a “How-to” or “Self help” book, aimed at those of us longing to include creativity in our lives in some form, whether that’s a desire to; write a blog! A book, a song, make poetry or art, start a business or simply to make everyday life more vivid and rewarding.
The market’s swamped with “how to” guides with grand promises of obtaining great success and I’d honestly had my fill of them! So what makes this one different? To appreciate that you need to understand the author and what makes her different, the easiest way is to share a TED Talk she did on “Success, Failure and the Drive to Create” it’s only 7mins long but gives you a flavour….
Motivational? Certainly was for me!
Right, back to the book and my review. I may be a super fan but have tried not to let that cloud my judgement, so here goes.. Gilbert manages to beautifully blend sound practical advice with elements of magical realism woven throughout (explained below). Sharing personal stories from her own life, as well as those of friends and the people who’ve inspired her on her own journey. Making for a witty and conversational tone, rather like talking with a great (successful) friend, but make no mistake she’s also straight talking too.
The first few sections are slightly mystical, referencing creativity or rather inspiration as floating in the universe looking for an owner. It may find you, stay briefly, then leave and go elsewhere if not nurtured and grown. She highlights this with a personal anecdote, involving the author Ann Patchett and a book idea she neglected to nurture. I love the image of inspiration moving amongst us looking for an outlet. But I’m sure Teear would call it just “extraordinary coincidences” or his favourite retort “mumbo jumbo clap tap” rather than the universe being mystical! You’ll need to read the story to decide for yourself!
I appreciate the mystical elements won’t be everyone’s thing, but don’t be put off as the majority of the book is incredibly pragmatic, offering insightful and wise advice for anyone with a desire for a creative life – Ideal for newbie, novice bloggers like Diane and I!
So, what exactly can you expect to find…
Divided into six parts titled: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, Divinity
Each part contains small easy read, digestible segments, covering subjects such as: Having the courage to follow your curiosity and dealing with fear – Creating is for the brave! Giving yourself permission to practice in whatever inspires you, basically, stop procrastinating “You need to just do it!” Looking out for inspiration, catching it and keeping it when it arrives. How to find your passion through the following of clues if you’re lost or confused. Dispels myths about needing a college education to be successful in a creative field (phew). Encourages avoiding debt at all costs, it will only stifle your “magic”. And for me the resounding message “do it because you love it”, not because you expect to make it big. The universe doesn’t always grant that wish … Refreshing to read a “how to” book that doesn’t promise you instant success, the pressure can be exhausting!
But do expect to find your… “Magic”
Some of the inspirational quotes, beautifully summing up the messages threaded throughout…
Good luck with finding yours!