Review: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Like many of you, I discovered Elizabeth Gilbert through her New York Times Best-Seller Eat, Pray, Love (which was made into a fantastic movie starring Julia Roberts, it’s on Netflix, go watch it!). It’s no wonder that it spent 185 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller’s list. I read Eat, Pray, Love the summer before I started college and fell in love with her writing style immediately. It was so eloquent yet relatable and comforting all at once.

As I started to discover personal development books, I began to ask others for recommendations and one title that kept coming up was Big Magic. I looked it up and found out that Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the non-fiction book all about creativity. It sounded great but I didn’t really consider myself a “creative”, if you will. Sure, I like to paint or craft from time to time (I am a sorority woman, after all) but I never considered myself to be “artistic”. But the book looked interesting anyway.

As mentioned in my previous review of The Happiness Project, my boyfriend and I stumbled upon an incredible bookstore in Petaluma where I picked up three books that had been on my list: This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillips, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I got each of these books, brand new for under $10 each!! The more I looked at Big Magic, the more I felt a draw to start it right away. Once I began the book, I realized that I was drawn to it because I am indeed a “creative”, just not in the way I had been thinking of it.

In Big Magic, Gilbert breaks down her tactical advice into six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, & Divinity. In each section she includes several short chapters exploring the topic. She gives personal experience, advice, and teaches her readers about people they may not otherwise have heard of. That is my favorite aspect of Gilbert’s writing style. She takes the opportunity to share stories about amazing people and I always learn so much about fascinating topics I’ve never explored before. It’s a true journey reading her work.

Once I began reading the book, I realized that I am creative. I realized: I am a writer. No, I am not a published writer. I have never written a book (yet, who knows!). I don’t write for work, in fact my job is in construction and is very much a numbers-based field. But I am a writer because I love writing! In college I ended up double majoring in English literature and sociology with a minor in gender studies. As you can imagine, all of those areas are VERY writing intensive programs. And I loved it.

In my personal life, I would occasionally write a slightly longer than normal post on my social media pages and I would have family members tell me that I’m a good writer, but I didn’t understand why. I still don’t quite understand why but I do know this: I love to write. This book is the very reason that this blog even exists! Gilbert talks about not taking your art so seriously and learning to love the process and to do it often. Well, here we are! This blog has given me the perfect outlet to write about what I am passionate about. Even if no other person ever reads this blog, I love that it exists because it gives me the purpose I need to write. I know that I am writing for myself and no one else. If someone else gets something out of this, then that’s amazing. But if no one does, it doesn’t matter because I get something out of it. I get to create the way that I want to.  Maybe it will lead to something else even bigger, and maybe it won’t. But all of if brings me joy. And that is the whole point of Big Magic. Sometimes your creation is amazing, but that’s rare. The important thing is to keep doing it, over and over again. That’s how the magic happens.

Check out all the awesome books referenced in this post!!!

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