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.*
This book is the perfect combination of gentle words of wisdom and a swift kick in the a** that all creative people need at some point in their life. It has advice for people in every single stage of a project; whether you have an idea but haven’t started writing, don’t have an idea yet but want to start writing, have a project you’re editing, have a project that you’re sending out to agents or magazines, or are already a published author there is something in this book for you.
Gilbert intersperses her theories on creativity–really fascinating, almost otherworldly ones–with both hilarious and serious anecdotes to support those theories. She never shies away from the truth. She makes it abundantly, painfully clear that the odds are you WON’T be “successful” as a writer. But that’s okay because the idea of success should not be what drives your creative process anyway.
This book has helped me to take my writing both more and less seriously, simultaneously. Don’t read it if you are not comfortable with such paradoxes. It has (sort of) helped me shake the idealized notion I have always held in my head of the Tortured Artist (thanks for that one, Bukowski).
It is absolutely the sort of book to come back to again and again, to help remind yourself why exactly you have chosen to be a writer and to help you embrace the fact that you are, in fact, a writer, something that is not always so easy to do when you have not had obvious successes. I very highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever entertained the notion of pursuing any form of creativity in their life, whether it be writing, visual art, crafting, etc.
It’s a very quick read–I finished it in two days, while working what is essentially a full time job as well as doing edits on my own work–so you can definitely make the time for it if you are serious about your craft!
*Synopsis and cover art taken from Amazon.com.