Big Magic – Book Review

Goodreads Summary:

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Although I have never read Eat, Pray, Love (though I have seen the movie), I was excited to read something by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I heard phenomenal things about Big Magic. This book found me at the perfect time, because just as I began to read it, I decided it was time I go back to the first draft of my novel in order to edit it. Editing your own work is hard, though, and over the years, though I’ve tried to edit my book over and over again, I lost motivation many times.

Or perhaps I was just fearful. That’s what Big Magic is about – how creators should not let fear stop us from creating. Gilbert has so many fantastic tips about clearing your mind of all the negative thoughts one gets when embarking on a creative endeavor. Though she mainly discusses her personal experiences writing, this book can serve anyone from painters to designers to poets and all that’s in between.

This book has so many wonderfully honest and striking passages that I adored. While reading, I wanted to jump out of my chair, go to my laptop, and start writing without fear right away. The book is organized into different sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity. Each section includes practical advice for creative living, anecdotes of Gilbert herself or of those she knew who also lived the creative life, and a ton of encouragement. Gilbert truly believes that if you live a creative life and you announce to the world that you intend on creating, inspiration and magic will seek you out.

If you are a creative soul (Gilbert argues that everyone is) then you need this book. Personally, I love the way Gilbert expresses her thoughts in Big Magic, but some have expressed that she sounds as if she’s bragging. I did not feel that at all while reading this. I felt that she wrote with honesty and heart. She tells the reader that she did not set off to write Big Magic with any intention of helping others, but that the book was something she needed to write for herself. For that reason, I think this book is helpful, as it is one woman’s knowing account of creative living.

Big Magic is one of the best books I read so far this year, and I would encourage anyone on the path to a creative life to read this immediately.

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