Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Review of 'Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear' by Elizabeth Gilbert

"Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years.  Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity.  With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration.  She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering.  She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear.  She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.  Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the 'strange jewels' that are hidden within each of us.  Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion.  Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy."

For a really long time, I've been in a creative slump.  Maybe I just don't have any ideas or maybe I've been so busy with life things that creating just felt like a chore... whatever the case, it's been a struggle to create much of anything, especially the written work that kind of informed my identity when I was younger (and to a certain degree that informs my identity now).  When you feel like you're meant to create in some capacity and you can't for some reason... it doesn't feel good.  Not one bit.

I love Elizabeth Gilbert's writing, though my only experience with her is 'Eat Pray Love' prior to this book) and I loved this book.  It was a book I could read in chunks, but each time I picked it up and read some more of it, I felt instantly inspired.  It was a fresh way to look at creativity and how it works (at the very least, how Gilbert perceives it works).  Reading this book was like getting permission to create, even if what I create is terrible.  Because hey, at least I'm still creating.

I've realized that when I was younger, I wrote because I had this goal to be published.  I wanted to write this amazing book that I would be proud to share with all the world, but nothing I wrote I was proud enough of.  The one story I was proud of was rejected in a contest and that was it.  While I think it would be awesome to publish a book someday, I can't give my stories an agenda before it's even come to fruition.  I don't want to be so attached to the idea of this future my story will have and then when it's not or can't be realized I'm left with nothing but disappointment.

This book has inspired me to create because I want to create and because I love it, not because I have a reputation to live up to or because I have this dream that I want to be fulfilled by a certain time.  Creativity doesn't work on my terms.  It's certainly paired with hard work (I can't just sit there and suddenly get a story to come to fruition... I still have to practice my craft), but it has a mind of its own.

If you're in a creative slump, this is a great book to turn to if you need a jolt of confidence, inspiration, or rough guidance for your own writing practice.

I give 'Big Magic':
Thanks for Reading!


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