Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

This was one of those books that I spent a large amount of time debating whether or not to read.  I have no idea, really, how I ended up listening to Eat, Prey, Love on audio a few years ago but I did and in spite of myself and my preconceptions, I really liked it.  It didn’t change my life but it did that thing that I want my books that have a self-help flavor to do:  It lit a fire under my ass.  I ended up picking up Big Magic because I was feeling stuck and like I needed a fire under my ass and I happened to listen to an old podcast where one of the hosts talked about how she didn’t necessarily agree with Gilbert’s magical side of creativity but that the book did make her want to live a more creative life.

So, I checked it out on a whim.

And then I ordered a paperback copy from Amazon so I could highlight it.

Because I did end up really liking this.

As a creative person who is always trying to build a better life, it really did make me feel like it was time to actually do something.  It made me appreciate my ideas a lot more.  It made me feel better about the things that I have been incapable of finishing.  It kind of took the pressure out of all of that inspiration stuff because Gilbert believes that ideas find us and that sometimes they find us at the wrong time and that is okay.

I really like this very serendipitous view of things.  I like to think of it both ways.  Writing is just as much magic as it is work and it should be fun.  A couple of years ago, I was working steadfastly on a project and I was getting more and more frustrated with it and with myself.  (Gilbert notes that there is always a point in a project where she thinks, “Oh, this is the part where I start to hate this book.”  That may not be an exact quote.)  I caught myself thinking one day, “What would happen if I just decided not to write?  If I just gave it all up?”  It was the scariest thing that I had ever thought and I have not thought about it since.  That’s the kind of love of writing that Gilbert brings to this book.  She loves it.  She enjoys it.  She does it.

Gilbert’s ideas about creativity are accessible  and relateable.  They apply to everyone, no matter your art form and no matter your skill or professional level.  I can’t wait to start highlighting my copy.

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