I saw this book making the rounds when it first came out and with good reason. I don’t say this often, but reading Big Magic completely changed my life and how I think about being a creative. In many ways, I wish I would have read this book a year ago — before I embarked on the freelance lifestyle. But honestly, I have no regrets.
The way Elizabeth Gilbert approaches life as a creative was profound. For starters, she talks about how she didn’t quit her full-time job until she hit it big with her best-seller Eat, Pray, Love. That’s right. She worked as a bartender and held other odd jobs until she got her big break with her fourth book. Her rationalization was that she didn’t feel it was fair to ask her passion also to have to support her financially. As someone who took the leap to full-time blogging (maybe a little prematurely), I found myself nodding in agreement with many of her points.
This 250-page book took me much longer than it should have because I was feverishly taking notes as I read along. Gilbert accurately depicts the many struggles creatives face — from the fear of failure, the struggle to be inspired, the need for permission to embark on a creative life, and the process of trusting your creative intuition.
Gilbert’s insights on inspiration particularly resonated with me. She writes that when a thought comes to you, you shouldn’t let it wait — as if it will get impatient and move onto someone else. As a blogger, I know this all too well. I do some of my best thinking at night — usually when I should be sleeping. I’ve “written” entire posts in my head — vowing to remember them come morning — only to be unable to write the first sentence as eloquently as it once sounded in my head.
Here are excerpts from the book that I found enlightening:
“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” -Page 41
“How you manage yourself between those bright moments, when things aren’t going so great, is a measure of how devoted you are to your vocation, and how equipped you are for the weird demands of creative living.” -Page 149
“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody; courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust — and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.” -Page 158
If you are a creative, or hoping to pursue your creative talents on any level, Big Magic is worth reading. After each page, I felt more inspired to continue on my creative journey. The book also showed me mistakes I have made along the way. But overall, it’s filled with optimism and positive messages for a varied audience.
And this goes without saying, if you haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love yet, you absolutely should!
My grade: A+
Up next…Rising Strong, by Brené Brown. Stay tuned!