Thoughts on ‘Big Magic’

“Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert, yes the woman from that horrible, cheesy ‘Eat, Pray, Love’-fest that took 3 hours from my life…twice, voluntarily (it almost seems like I LIKED this story, doesn’t it?). Don’t get me wrong, I can be an intensely cynical person and I’d love to hate on books like ‘Big Magic’ just like I did with ‘Eat Pray Love’ — but I just can’t. I’m a sucker for passionate, creative and somewhat-romantic ideologies. Even if it took me over a year to finish this damned book. Wonders never cease, huh?

I have to admit, even though Big Magic was lovely, inspiring and honest, sometimes it was just too much, too preachy, too…easy? I’m a big advocate for not trying to oversimplify every-fucking-thing. I think some things are hard, tough, complicated — and there’s beauty in that. So I definitely get the incredibly mixed reviews that Gilbert got on this one. Some chapters were incredibly motivational and inspiring, but others seemed pretentious and agonizing to read. I guess this is one of those books, like with quite a few other books in this universe, that has to be on your night-stand during just the right moment in your life. And then, but only then, there will be that mind-blowing, etc., etc., Big Magic happening that Gilbert gushes about in this book.

Therefore, for what it’s worth, I am giving this book a 4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆. And I would love to explain my ten reasons for doing so. Or tell you about the 10 things I learned from Big Magic that made me happy that I stuck to it after all those months of picking it up and putting it away again:

  1. We are all inherently creative.
    • I am convinced of this. Humans are creators, we are creative…all of us. We all have different talents, and different ways of looking at something. We are all able to create something, anything, so this was a bit of a no-brainer. But sure, maybe we’re not all ‘geniuses’, hell I am even convinced that Gilbert is right about that you aren’t a genius but that you have genius. And that it’s up to you if you can put it to good use before you lose it?
  2. You are not required to save the world with your creativity.
    • You’re allowed to create for yourself. You don’t have to make anything for anyone. We humans have to save ourselves, if we want to be saved we will ask for help. But if not, we are not open to your help. So please, for the love of God, create for yourself.
  3. You must possess a fierce sense of personal entitlement (to create).

    • This one was an eye-opener. I had a interesting conversation with a new person in my life recently about something similar to this. I think my lack-of-entitlement translates to a lack of confidence in oneself to the outside world. I think this book thought me that it actually really isn’t the lack of self confidence that I ‘suffer’ from — but the lack of entitlement. I do not feel entitled to create “art” as I still put people on pedestals that I feel like I could never reach because … oh well, maybe it’s actually lack of confidence. Heck I don’t know?
  4. You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.
    • This!
  5. Life is short, and miraculous: do something with it.
    • Again, no explanation needed.
  6. It might have been done before, but it hasn’t been done by you!
    • I think this is one of the things that holds people back from creating most?
  7. Create, create, create (!!!)
    • This might be interesting to combine with the previous point. In order for yourself to really find your niche of creating, maybe you should just start creating first and maybe do what others have done before just so that you can learn from the process of creating to better your skill, craft, anything.
  8. Create for yourself, more so than for your audience.
    • Not quite the same as point 2, as I think that creating is extremely beneficial for your mental well-being. So if you create for yourself, judge your creations for yourself and learn from your creations for yourself — you’ll do so much for you! And heck, maybe even people can enjoy it but that’s a nice bonus. Remind yourself that it is not selfish to create (for yourself) and put time in your creations.
  9. Some ideas aren’t meant to stick?
    • If things don’t work out, don’t beat yourself up about it. Make time and move on: there’s so much more to create!
  10. Also, you don’t have to be taught how to do things because you can also teach yourself.
    • Therefore, if you care for something enough that you want to learn about it — it’s the best you can do for yourself. You will be genuinely interested and motivated to learn. You’ll work it out.

I was so late to the party with this book, but I hope you agree — or disagree with some of the above. Have a big, fucking, magical life folks! And until soon! x