A BIG MAGIC BOOK REVIEW
Big magic hit the personal development world in an epic way this month when Elizabeth Gilbert released her new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I am perhaps one of the only people in the personal development world who was yet to read any of Elizabeth Gilbert’s books (including Eat Pray Love) prior to stumbling across Big Magic. When I heard Elizabeth Gilbert speak about the book in an interview with Marie Forleo, I just knew that I had to get a copy.
I drove into town, purchased two copies (one for me and one for a client who I suspected would love it also) and took it away on my holiday to Tin Can Bay that weekend. Once I started, I could barely put it down. It was nothing like I had ever written before. It was like she had peered into my heart, read my personal philosophy, and then poetically, articulately, and beautifully transcripted it into a book. Big magic was sure at play.
There was so much magic in this book that it is hard to summarise in this one Big Magic book review, so I have instead chosen ten of my favourite quotes from the book, and have then shared a podcast and a video where Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the book and some of the lessons within.
10 FAVE QUOTES FROM ELIZABETH GILBERT’S BIG MAGIC
- “I happen to believe that we are all walking repositories of buried treasure. I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. To hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living. The courage to go on the hunt in the first place – that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. The often surprising results of that hunt – that’s Big Magic.”
- “Most things have already been done – but they have not yet been done by you.”
- “Stop treating your creativity like it’s a tired, old, unhappy marriage (a grind, a drag) and start regarding it with the fresh eyes of a passionate lover. Even if you have only fifteen minutes a day in a stairwell alone with your creativity, take it. Go hide in the stairwell and make out with your art!”
- “I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us – albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way any ideas can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the there and into the realm of the actual. ”
- “Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true in your soul, and I promise – you can make anything.”
- “… I simply vowed to the universe that I would write forever, regardless of the result. I promised that I would try to be brave about it, and grateful, and as uncomplaining as I could possibly be. I also promised that I would never ask writing to take care of me financially, but that I would always take care of it – meaning that I would always support us both, by any means necessary. I did not ask for any external rewards for my devotion; I just wanted to spend my life as near to writing as possible – forever close to that source of all my curiosity and contentment – and so I was willing to make whatever arrangements needed to be made in order to get by.”
- “I recently read a fabulous blog by a writer named Mark Manson, who said that the secret to finding your purpose in life is to answer this question in total honesty: “What’s your favourite flavour of shit sandwich?” What Manson means is that every single pursuit – no matter how wonderful and exciting and glamorous it may initially seem – comes with its own brand of shit sandwich, its own lousy side effects. As Manson writes with profound wisdom: ‘Everything sucks, some of the time.’ You just have to decide which sort of suckage you’re willing to deal with…. Because if you love and want something enough – whatever it is – then you don’t really mind eating the shit sandwich that comes with it.”
- “You do not need a permission slip from the principal’s office to live a creative life. Or if you do worry that you need a permission slip – THERE, I just gave it to you. I just woke it on the back of an old shopping list. Consider yourself fully accredited. Now go make something.”
- “I think perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear. I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified. Because underneath that shiny veneer, perfectionism is nothing more than a deep existential angst that says, again and again, ‘I’m not good enough and I will never be good enough.'”
- “I don’t ever choose to believe that I’ve been completely abandoned in the creative wilderness, or that there’s reason for me to panic about my writing. I choose to trust that inspiration is always nearby, the whole time I’m working, trying its damnedest to impart assistance. It’s just that inspiration comes from another world, you see, and it speaks a language entirely unlike my own, so sometimes we have trouble understanding each other. But inspiration is still sitting there right beside me, and it is trying. Inspiration is trying to send me a message in every form it can… Inspiration is always trying to work with me. So I sit there and I work too. That’s the deal. I trust it; it trusts me.”
MEDIA FEATURING ELIZABETH GILBERT & BIG MAGIC
Podcast between Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown on creativity:
In this insightful podcast interview between Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown, they explore creativity and fear, and how essential creativity is for healthy and wholehearted living. Access the free episode here.
Video interview between Marie Forleo and Elizabeth Gilbert:
In this fabulous episode of Marie TV, Marie Forleo chats to Elizabeth Gilbert about some of the takeaways from Big Magic. It is a delight to watch and gives you a lot of insight into what you can expect to read in the book. You can watch the video below.
I would love to know – what would you like to curiously explore when it comes to being creative over the next six months?
Let’s soar together,
Please note that if you use any of the links in this blog post to buy this book, I may receive a small commission from Book Depository.