Book review: Big Magic

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Big Magic is what makes the creative process work according to Elizabeth Gilbert.

A good friend of mine sent me Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond the Fear as a birthday gift. She knows that for many years, my entire life really, I have struggled with wanting to be creative but not knowing how to go about it. Big Magic is great because it states many obvious things that, while I knew it in my head I still needed to hear it in order to overcome it.

I appreciate Elizabeth Gilbert’s take on how the creative process is a complicated, and yet simple endeavor. How it is full of oxymorons, and contradictions. How the only thing that remains constant about creative is that nothing remains constant.

Gilbert’s light take on something that many take too seriously is refreshing. Although, at times, Big Magic is a bit rambley and repetitive, the book on a whole is light-hearted and fun. Gilbert highlights many cruel truths about the creative process, and how people go about creating. While she never says that the “tortured artist” is wrong, she does point out that often times it is unnecessary.

As someone who has always struggled with a fear of creating this book was exactly the pep talk/kick in the pants I needed to handle many of those fears. I learned the fears and insecurities will never leave and that I must make a conscious effort to overcome and squash those fears and insecurities. Or, at the very least, shush them.

Most importantly Gilbert has given a name to that creative event, the moment when you’ve found something you truly enjoy and can be creative and have fun and learn things. She calls it, Big Magic.

On a whole I enjoyed the book, and I think anyone who is trying to live a wonderful life would as well. The things Gilbert discusses don’t apply exclusively to creative as in “artistic” pursuits. They apply to any particular pursuit that is exciting or brings you joy. I would recommend this book to anyone who feels stuck, trapped, or nervous about their life.

 

 


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