Finding Inspiration in Big Magic

big magicAfter devouring Eat Pray Love earlier this year, I was craving more from Elizabeth Gilbert. Enter: Big Magic! I’d heard good things- but, wow, I was not prepared for how much I would love it. It’s just pure, sparkly *inspiration* in book form. It’s safe to say, Big Magic had cast its spell over

Bringing forth magic of creativity, there’s a hint of euphoria in this book. It sweeps you up in equal doses of optimism and tough love. Much like with Eat Pray Love, I adored Gilbert’s self-awareness and humour. I couldn’t help warming to her all over again and feeling like I was being taken on this journey by a good friend.

No doubt, like any guidebook for the (chaos that is the) creative mind, bits and pieces of this book will be relevant to different people (or at different times of the creative process). I personally felt called out for my perfectionism (described as fear in a mink coat) and welcomed the long-deserved kick up the backside. I’m positive that every creative will see parts of themselves reflected back at them here (and will benefit from the honest assessment).

I also liked the quirky analogies and unique ways of reassessing your mindset- such as asking yourself what you’d be doing in the apocalypse, so that you can know if you’re on the right path (which, you know, we can all kinda answer now that it’s rolled around 😉).

There were a whole bunch of great takeaways- which I’m going to paraphrase and you may want to skip over if you plan to read this:

  • I LOVED her point that yelling at creativity is like yelling at a cat- it has no idea what you’re talking about and you’ll just scare it away- VERY TRUE!!
  • I also agreed with her mantra: “Everything sucks some of the time”. There’s no such thing as a perfect job (and I think it’s not healthy to be in the mindset that there is).
  • She said no one is worrying about what you do with your life- which is great advice and reminded me of some advice my grandpa gave: no one is worrying about what you’re doing when they put their head on the pillow at night
  • And we have to keep pushing forward, no matter what!
  • Her point that people shouldn’t strive to be the suffering artist is so apt- writing is something to be enjoyed (and even in writing misery, it should be to untether your soul a little). I do not think it’s healthy to chase darkness around the world (it’ll catch up with you eventually anyway). I always think if you feel like you can’t write something dark, write something fun- the world needs more joy! I very much appreciated the quote: “Love over suffering always”
  • Plus, I liked her advice to lighten up!
  • And, by the way, “It ain’t your baby” (I’m certainly guilty of describing my work in those terms, but it’s not healthy!)

This book brought me joy and laughter- and most importantly it brought me hope. It taught me to have a fierce trust in myself, knowing I will fail and that’s okay. On a personal level, I’ve learnt something this year about how simply turning up can make a huge difference to your life (although the great irony is that then we all found ourselves locked up, so I guess occasionally the universe likes to have a laugh at my expense 😉). However, the point still stands! You can’t win anything if you never play the game (just make sure you wear a mask and bring hand sanitiser 😉). I feel like this was a kick in the right direction.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So, have you tried a little bit of BIG MAGIC for yourself? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

38 thoughts on “Finding Inspiration in Big Magic

  1. I haven’t read any of Gilbert’s work yet, but I did see a virtual TED talk with her toward the start of the coronavirus lockdown. Eat, Pray, Love doesn’t really sound like my kind of inspirational book, but Big Magic does sound more interesting to me. I might have to check it out.

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  2. This book seems extremely inspiring, I’m so glad it brought you something. I may need to pick it up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

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  3. These are amazing points you’ve taken away from it! I am resonating most with the idea that others aren’t worrying about what you’re doing. I always feel I’m not doing enough or measuring up somehow. It’s comforting to know people aren’t sizing me up and for some reason judging my lack of accomplishments, haha. I also LOVE yours and the author’s take on writing: it should be enjoyable. I often have to remind myself of that when I’m struggling to find the perfect words. Great review!

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  4. I loved this book. I was a little suspicious about it from the summary and title, so I got it as an audiobook from my library. I could not stop listening to it and you’re right, it’s complete inspiration. I loved the part about not quitting your day job because why put your creativity under that much pressure? That spoke to me. Great review!

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