Book Review #2 – ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’ by Elizabeth Gilbert

So here we are book review number 2 and oh my word what a book. I have been completely obsessed with ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear‘, to the point that I took it everywhere with me this month. As the book is written in small, manageable sections it meant I could easily read a few paragraphs whenever I had a few minutes spare.

‘Big Magic’ explores creative living beyond fear and offers insights on inspiration, hard work and the pure joy of creating something that you love. I was unsure whether to invest when I first heard about the book, as I don’t necessarily class myself as a ‘creative’ person in the traditional sense. I don’t play an instrument, I don’t dance or sing or paint  (which of course are not the only creative outlets around!)…but after hearing a review from Marie Forleo that said “every human should read this book”, I bit the bullet and ordered a copy and I can’t tell you how glad I am now!

‘Big Magic’ taught me that creativity is a part of everything we do. I realised that actually I do have to be creative in my work as a research student, and found that a lot of what Liz Gilbert talks about is applicable to tons of life situations. Gilbert gracefully explores the topics of Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. I took a lot of comfort from reading Big Magic, because I discovered that some of the feelings I experience when coming to start a new project, such as fear of not being good enough or of others criticizing my work are not just my own. Gilbert draws from her own experiences as well as that of her friends and world renowned creators like Einstein and Hemingway. One of my favourite quotes is that even Roman emperors feared not being good enough with Marcus Aurelius reassuring himself that it’s ‘okay not to be Plato!

I could spend all day writing about every part that I found interesting, uplifting, comforting or useful from Big Magic but in the interest of space (and also in the interest of leaving you with some of the book to read if you ever decide to purchase it!) I will finish up on the main points that I personally will take away from it.

  1. You can’t get rid of fear, no matter how hard you try. The quicker you learn to accept and even embrace fear at times, the quicker you will be able to get down to working on creating something that you enjoy!
  2. Creating is not all fairy dust and ‘big magic’ – if you want to create something you need to show up and work hard so that when inspiration decides to visit you’re ready and waiting.
  3. Be grateful – even when creating is hard and painful at times be thankful for this, as it is all part of the creative process. Don’t just be grateful for the good times because you will drive yourself crazy chasing success. There is a lot to be learned during the times that things didn’t ‘work’.
  4. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and don’t worry about what others think – ok, your work might be the greatest thing the world has seen…it also might not be! Whatever we create is a gamble, don’t give up your day job solely to create and don’t panic if whatever you create doesn’t work. Gilbert notes the central paradox to creativity as ‘It matters./It doesn’t matter.’
  5. Don’t give up because you’re scared – don’t stop because what you’re doing became hard to do, or it became boring or it started to stress you out. As Gilbert writes ‘don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding…because that’s the moment when interesting begins.’

So there we have it, I am truly grateful to have read this book and would recommend to anyone hoping to start something new, finish something old or purely just to help them enjoy something they already do a little more.

I’d be really interested to hear if any of you have read ‘Big Magic’ or if you guys have any other recommendations for me to read! Comment below or please tweet me @makingitmindful.


Chrissy x

For more from Liz Gilbert check out her Facebook page and her inspiring TED talks .


2 responses to “Book Review #2 – ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’ by Elizabeth Gilbert

  1. Pingback: “Book review” #5 – what to read when you don’t have time to read | Making it Mindful·

  2. Pingback: 2016 in review and my goals for 2017 | Making it Mindful·

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