Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

by Elizabeth Gilbert


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The instant #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller

"A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and City of Girls: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594634727
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/27/2016
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 6,853
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big MagicEat Pray Love, and The Signature of All Things, as well as several other internationally bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her latest novel, City of Girls, comes out in June, 2019. 


Hudson Valley, New York

Date of Birth:

July 18, 1969

Place of Birth:

Waterbury, Connecticut


BA, New York University, 1991 (Political Science)

Read an Excerpt

Once upon a time, there was a man named Jack Gilbert, who was not related to me—unfortunately for me.

Excerpted from "Big Magic"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Elizabeth Gilbert.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Eat Pray Love:
“Gilbert’s prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible.”—Jennifer Egan, The New York Times Book Review

“A meditation on love in its many forms … her extraordinary journey lets even the most cynical reader dare to dream.” – Los Angeles Times
Praise for The Signature of All Things:
“A bracing homage to the many natures of genius and the inevitable progress of ideas, in a world that reveals its best truths to the uncommonly patient minds.”– Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review
“Raucously ingenious…Signature is not just a historical novel that spans two centuries and many geographies.  It’s a 500-page novel of ideas…I found unshackled joy on every page.” — The Chicago Tribune
“A delightful book…one of the best of the year…Gilbert marries the technical, cultural and spiritual with a warm, frankly funny wit that adds richness to all three.”– “All Things Considered,” NPR


Barnes & Noble Review Interview with Elizabeth Gilbert

If you've watched either of Elizabeth Gilbert's erudite and compelling TED talks on creativity ("Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating" and "Your Elusive Creative Genius"), then you know that she is equally talented at speaking eloquently about the ups and downs of the artistic life while injecting warmth, humor, and fitting anecdotes into the conversation. The phenomenally successful author of Eat, Pray, Love and six other books (including The Last American Man, a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as the novel The Signature of All Things) practices what she preaches. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear is a welcome addition in the creative self-help genre. Gilbert joins other esteemed authors like Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird) and Stephen King (On Writing), but unlike their books, aimed specifically toward writers, Gilbert's is concerned with anyone who wants to embrace an inspired life.

I spoke to her via Skype on a day when I was feeling particularly down, and five minutes into our hour-long conversation, I immediately felt a sense of buoyancy and camaraderie. (Perhaps that had to do with realizing that instead of recording the interview, I was only recording my side of the conversation. I left my headphones in for the first couple of minutes. But Gilbert and I laughed and started over again. Mistakes, after all, are part of the process.) —Michele Filgate

The Barnes & Noble Review: In Big Magic, you write: "The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them." Your TED talks and now this book are full of inspirational nuggets. How did you get to a point where you felt like you could live a positive, happy life as an artist instead of a suffering artist?

Elizabeth Gilbert: I've just never been attracted to the very macho German romantic icon of the suffering, tormented artist. I think I've always doubted how authentic that is, and I've also doubted and pondered how necessary it is to have that level of drama around the work that you naturally feel called to do. My sense is if this is the talent or the gift or even the curiosity that you have, then why is it our assumption that it came to torment you? And why can it not be your assumption that it came to embiggen your soul? That it came to offer you access and portals into parts of yourself that might make your life richer and better and might make you a more generous and interesting person rather than a more savagely unhappy one . . . And one of the lines I have in Big Magic is, "Maybe creativity is not fucking with us, but we've been fucking with it." Like maybe all it wants to do is engage with us in a really delightful way and we've just been insisting this thing has to be a battle because of our dumb martyrdom scars. So yeah, it's kind of been with me all along. I feel like it's more interesting in a weird way, a more punk rock way to do it.

BNR: I think there's a false assumption that you need to come from money in order to live a successful life as an artist. And as you point out in your book, people take on jobs that have nothing to do with their craft in order to support themselves. So how do we separate the arts from money when we live in a society where we so desperately need things like artist residencies and fellowships so people have time to create? EG: First of all, if money was the only thing people needed in order to live actualized, creative lives, then the most creative and inspiring people in our society would be the mega-rich and their children . . . Some of the most interesting and engaging creative expressions of anything that have been made on Earth have been made by people who did not have a lot of excess resources; they didn't have a lot of excess time . . . So I cannot get behind this idea that creativity is something that is only allowed for people who are highly privileged, because the entirety of human history does not support that idea. And I feel like if you're a human being, you're a creative person. And that is something that everybody — every single person — has entitlement to. I feel like I'm very frustrated by the fact that currently in our society we seem to have this idea that creativity only belongs to people who got the right MFA, live in the right city, have access to the right contacts. No. Or that if you don't have an artist's residency, you can't make art, which is also a pile of fucking bullshit.

I was given an artist's residency once in my life, which was an amazing thing, and it was on my third book, you know? I didn't have it for the first two. And when I was writing the first two, I was a bartender and a waitress and an au pair and a flea marketer, and nobody was giving me space and time, and I didn't have an art patron, and I became my own studio wife and I became my own patron. Which is what most human beings in history have had to do.

We don't do this stuff because we have a lot of extra time and money for it. We do this stuff because we can't not do it. And so if you're talking yourself out of expressing your creativity because you feel like you lack everything that you think you need in order to do it, then I'm going to have a really big argument with you about that. To me, the definition of a creative life is something very simple. It's any life where you consistently make decisions based on curiosity rather than fear. And that is accessible to every single living and breathing human being . . .

BNR: Do you ever or did you ever doubt your own advice when writing this book? Because I'm curious about the pressure you place on yourself, now that so many millions of people look to you for guidance.

EG: This is a book I've been thinking about writing for twelve years, and when I ask myself why I didn't write it sooner, it was because I didn't believe in my own authority to say what I already knew, if that makes sense. Everything that I say in that book is like I'm totally smoking what I'm selling. That book is completely my code of what I live by and how I do my work and how I've always done my work.

But I don't know whether I felt like it was okay yet to suggest to other people "Hey, you want to do it this way?" So I was living by that stuff, but I don't feel like I felt at ease preaching it. And I think I couldn't have written that book until I was 45, until I had written seven other books . . . But I think this is the first time in my life where I feel like the confidence, you know — maybe it's the confidence of middle age, but it's the confidence to say, "This is how I've been engaging with this work forever, and I have a really pleasurable, generative relationship with creativity. And I know that because I can look back at it and say this is always how I felt about it, whether it was working or not working, whether I was successful or not successful."

BNR: How did the success of Eat, Pray, Love change your relationship to creativity if it did at all?

EG: You know what it did? It forced me back into my oldest version of my relationship with it. That was the only way I could continue, because the question that arose of course after Eat, Pray, Love was, How can you top this? And the answer was, You can't. You can't, Gilbert. Like you are done. Like you have reached your peak, because this is not something that can be replicated.

But the good thing, in a weird way, about Eat, Pray, Love being an outlier phenomenon was that it was such an outlier phenomenon, you would have to be totally mentally ill or so self- hating to try to say, "I'm going to do better than that last time." Because you can't.

Now I mean I can't do better than that commercially, right? As a creative person, I feel like I can look at that book and say, "I think I can do better than that creatively. I think I can make work — I think I can improve as a writer." But I certainly cannot . . . look, it's the Thriller album. I can't do that again. You know? That's it. That's my Thriller. That's it. I know it is.

I'm not a very competitive person. I'm a very ambitious person, and it's taken me a long time to recognize the difference between those two words. Competitive means I have to win against everybody and I also have to win against myself. Ambitious means I just want to do really good work. And those are really different ideas.

So, anyway, the notion — it wasn't even a notion — the fact that I can never do better than that meant that I'd better find another reason to write besides wanting to break my own records. And so that reason to write turned out to be the very deepest, oldest reason, the same reason I was doing it when I was sixteen; the same reason I was doing it when I was nineteen; the same reason I was doing it when I was twenty-three, and no one cared. I still have yet to find a more effective way to animate my soul than by engaging with language at this level. So I'm just going to do that . . . I know that I can do it. I know that I can write regardless of the outcome, because I always did. I always had to.

BNR: Yes, and there's a freedom in that in a lot of ways. I love that you write, "I believe that our creativity grows like sidewalk weeds out of the cracks between our pathologies — not from the pathologies themselves." So people don't create because they drink or take drugs. You quote Raymond Carver as saying "Any artist who is an alcoholist is an artist despite their alcoholism, not because of it." How do we rewrite this romanticized image of the barely functioning creative person that's so prevalent in our culture?

EG: I think it's a hard one, and another reason I didn't write this book for so long was because I didn't want to get in that argument, because I'm not an argumentative person. And I thought, Oh man, this is going to be a fight because here comes Van Gogh. And everyone's going to be like, Yeah, but what about Van Gogh? Then I just feel myself just getting very weary and saying, "Van Gogh was a severely mentally ill individual who happened to also be a creative genius." The institutions and prisons and streets of our country are filled with severely mentally ill people who do not happen to be creative geniuses. To be mentally ill does not mean that you are also a creative genius. These things happened to overlap in his life . . . And all I can think is what degree of depression and despair would mentally ill artists have without their art? In fact, it might be the thing that's keeping them safe and alive, not the thing that's driving them mad.

The romanticizing of it is the thing I have a problem with . . . trying to live your life so it looks like you're a deranged genius. Maybe it's easier to do heroin than it is to do your work. There's a young writer whom I really admire and have been encouraging a lot who just said to me in an email recently, "Yeah, I've been drinking too much and I've been doing too many drugs. But, you know, I hang around with a bunch of artists so what do you expect?" And I was like, "How much work are they fucking doing? How much work is your friend, the fucking artist sitting in the bar at 2:00 in the afternoon, actually doing?" The sooner you realize that this sort of Bukowski-esque glamour that you're creating around yourself because you think that that's the emblem of your creativity is actually just eating up enormous amounts of hours and days and months out of your short life, I think the sooner you might return to the work and put down the mollies.

BNR: I particularly like the part in the book where you talk about the fact that most people aren't really thinking about you, the artist, and that we tend to get too hung up on impressing other people. I think social media amplifies this in a way. It's a curated selection and often a highlights reel of others' lives, and on a bad day an artist can take a look at all of the other things people are accomplishing and feel sort of worthless. But I adore your social media presence, and I feel like you try to remind people of their creative potential. So how can people who have a terrible habit of comparing themselves to friends and strangers stop doing that?

EG: I find it helps if I just remind myself that we're all a big, messy clown show inside. I love the Buddhist meditation teacher Pema Chodron. I was listening once to a recording of a conference that she was running. She had led everybody into meditation. You know, I'm listening to it in bed with my earbuds and thinking how amazing it would be to be there. I'm sure it's a really beautiful room and I'm sure they have incense, and to be with this great meditation teacher. So she has the silence and the meditation. Then she just started laughing. She looks out. You can just hear her cracking up. And she said, "I look out at all of you out there, and you all look like such perfect little Buddhas with your lovely posture and your closed eyes and your hands on your knees and the pontific glow that's coming off you. But I know the reality: it's a madhouse in there." And everybody just started laughing. She's like, "I know how crazy you all are and what you're struggling and suffering with in your mind. And no matter how peaceful your face looks right now . . . " And you can just hear people cracking up, because that is of course what meditation is. It's just you looking at what a monkey show you are.

And I feel like I know that about everyone. It's not to say that I want to call bullshit on what they're putting on social media, because I think when they do put the picture of themselves on the beach with their friend having a great day, they put that picture on because it was a great moment. I think it's wonderful, and I want them to have all the great moments in the world. I also know that they probably, like me, suffer from terrible, debilitating insecurity. That they have shame attacks every couple of days; that they wonder if they're wasting their life; you know, that they know that their parents loved their brother more than they loved them. Whatever the thing is, I know that that is also true. And it's all true. It's all true. And that really what yo're doing when you're engaging with creativity is not trying to prove that you're the greatest and the best and the most perfect. If that is what you're doing, then you're signing up for a lot of suffering. What you're really doing is you're saying, "I'm part of this monkey show. I'm another member of this circus, with all my frailties and vulnerabilities and imperfections. I am a constituent of creation too, and therefore I am exerting my natural-born human right to impose myself a little bit on the world and say that I also want to have a voice and here it is. Here's me. Here's me on a bad day. Here's me on a good day. Here's me as a hot mess. Here's me deciding that I don't just want to be a consumer and I don't just want to be a bystander and I don't just want to be a witness. I also want to be a participant in the world that I for some reason live in. And that's all it is. That's fine. That's good enough. More than good enough; it's awesome.

BNR: Is there such a thing as typical writing day for you? If so, what does that look like?

EG: I don't write every day. I write project-by-project, so sometimes I go months or even years without writing because I'll be doing research or I'll be on tour for another book. I mean it usually takes me a couple years to get prepared to write a book, because I can't just sit down and write cold. I have to gather everything that I need.

So with that said, when those days do come, usually at this point in my life it means clearing off the calendar way in advance . . . And then the next layer of decision making is you decide the night before whether you're doing to write the next day, and that determines are you going to have another bottle of wine? Are you going to watch Breaking Bad until 2:00 in the morning? Are you going to stay on Instagram all night or not? Because if you do all of those things the night before, it's very unlikely that you're going to have a good writing day the next day. So a lot of it is just about laying the best possible environment for yourself way in advance so that you don't just sit down hung over and rushed with like ten other things on the calendar and be like, Why isn't this working? You really have to lay the foundation for yourself as generously as you possibly can.

And I think the biggest problem I had when I was a younger writer is I didn't know how to help myself do that. I didn't know how to help Liz — I didn't know how to help future Liz. So a lot of what I'm doing now, like for instance I'm on book tour now but I have a novel that I'm beginning to work on but it needs a lot of research, but I don't really have time, but I have twenty minutes a day. You always have twenty minutes a day. So I'm setting aside twenty minutes a day to read some books from the 1940s and take some notes on stuff. And that's it.

And it doesn't produce very much, but I have this lovely feeling while I'm doing it that I'm helping future Liz with her book so that when future Liz sits down to work she actually has stuff to work with. And when I'm working, sometimes I'll find index cards that I had written with notes and I'll be like, Oh, thanks past Liz, it's so nice of you to do that for me. You just made this part of my writing this chapter so much easier. So it's about being helpful to yourself.

And then I get up really early, and I can never really write for more than — I mean unless I'm at the end of the book and it's really barreling — I can never write for more than three hours at the most.

BNR: That's such a relief to hear, because I'm the same way.

EG: Well, it's another reason why I get hives when people say they're going to quit their job to write their novel. You don't need forty hours a week for this. First of all, if I write three hours a day, that is a banging day for me. At the beginning of the book it's probably going to be more like forty-five minutes, because that's all I can sustain. When people say, "I can't have a day job. I'm a painter." I'm like, "Do you honestly paint nine hours a day? I don't know any human being who does that."

BNR: Yeah.

EG: John Updike said the best novels he'd ever read were written in less than an hour a day, and I think that's absolutely true. And then the rest of the day, you know, I just dick around on emails.

BNR: [Laughs] I love your honesty.

EG: Most of what we do is nothing. Most of what we do in our day is a whole lot of nothing.

BNR: But that helps.

EG: It doesn't take much. It doesn't take much. If you give half an hour of your day to just following your creative curiosity in some direction or other you'll be amazed at how much it adds up.

September 30, 2015

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one fantastic book! I can hardly wait to share it with "my world". Creativity needs to be recognized, argued with, developed and nurtured. Gilbert's examples are easily grasped, and this book is sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and will teach you things you already thought you knew. Is it obvious that I am an Elizabeth Gilbert fan? I've used her in sermons, I've celebrated with some of her mentees. I am an avid student and cheerleader for her living with her creativity. I've struggled with my own. Some of my best work has come from letting spirit take over. I also celebrate approaching creativity through its back door: when reality has your full attention, cooking, embroidery, painting....can bring you out of your head and reconnect with your heart and then transcendance can occur. Much like "Eat,Pray,Love", this will be a book to share with my friends
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seriously this book enticed me from the first line to the very last word. I loved how Elizabeth wrote so much that I drove and bought every single book she has published, and I am now going to begin reading those. This book does such a great job with self help and thoroughly explaining creative living. It has brought such a new, fresh, and innovative outlook to my life now. I will most definitely be reading this book over again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I so love Elizabeth Gilbert's view on living a creative life. She is honest, funny and relatable in this book that is meant to inspire but in a very realistic way. A must read for anyone and everyone!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a true eye opening book for me I just left a job I really didn't enjoy anymore to find my passion in life. Only to be home and suffer panic attacks this book gives me a feeling that I can recover it all again, it's all stil, in me and I'll get there. Wonderful and easy read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read and I could relate so much to the content. It is an interesting take on how to think about creativity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Inspiring. I am an author and much of what she says rings true and is helpful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Because so many people raved about Ms. Gilbert's TED Talk, I came into this book.with high hopes. I was joping to be completely inspired. What I got was some good nuggets. I would describe this book as.being more like a series of blog posts and stories. Some are good;somenare repetitive. If you're already living a crrative life, you'l find the content a nice reminder of why you began creating in the first place. If you're a beginner or not yet living a crrative life, I think you'll get a lot more out of it.
WitchyWriter 4 months ago
I hadn’t read any Elizabeth Gilbert before now, but some of my writing friends were reading this book, and it looked intriguing. I’m always up for a nonfiction about the writing process, since that’s the best way to procrastinate from actually writing. Through a series of loosely connected almost-vignettes, Gilbert talks about her writing process, Inspiration (with a capital I), and whatever blocks our creativity (namely fear). It’s interesting stuff, hearing about how other writers work. They make it sound so magical, you know? Well, except for Anne Lamott, whose Bird by Bird is still the best book on writing that most young writers could read. Gilbert has some useful ways of looking at creativity and inspiration. She talks about fear like they are old friends. She talks about inviting her fear and anxiety to tea, so they can sit together amicably and still get the work done. I like that. Sometimes I found the prose a bit too—patronizing. Keep your day job is practical advice, but a little hypocritical, coming from someone who wrote a book that hit the New York Times Bestseller List in such a big way. Not that any big-time author should mislead aspiring authors to believe that it’s always possible for them to hit the big leagues. But it comes across as patronizing when I hear people like Gilbert or Sanderson talk about the “odds.” Writers can be adults and make their own damn decisions. Besides, not everyone is in it for the money and glory. Sure, that’d be great—but most of us write because to not write is to slowly go insane. Anyway, Big Magic was light, and a fairly quick read. There are some interesting ideas in it, and some cool anecdotes. It’s worth a read if you’re looking to procrastinate a little by reading a book about writing. I would probably go with Pressfield’s The War of Art if you’re looking for something more motivational. Which isn’t to say I didn’t want to write by the time I finished reading Big Magic. That’s the beauty of books about writing. Glamorize the process a little bit, make it feel like magic, and you can inspire a reluctant writer to hit that page again.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was in a rut with my creativity and trying to choose between it and a 9-5. Big Magic definitely shed some light on how to get out that rut :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
....and realize that I am not alone in experiencing big magic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE THIS BOOK! When a friend recommended this book to me I was excited to check it out. I love Elizabeth Gilbert and her writing style. It completely exceeded my expectations. This book awakened inspiration in me and was such a great read. I would recommend it to anyone who is creative and intent on living a happy life!
EllenRozek More than 1 year ago
I'm not usually a fan of hippy-dippy self-help books, but there's a lot to be said for how calm and in control of my creativity BIG MAGIC made me feel. I took several more days than I needed to finish this book, just because I wanted some extra time to mull it over. Although I felt like Elizabeth Gilbert over-simplified some of the solutions for the struggles that creative types face, I appreciated her focus on the importance of changing your response to your creativity rather than obsessing about process. Besides, the central theme of BIG MAGIC is, at its core, pretty simple: Creativity doesn't need to be about anything more than enjoyment and pleasure. As someone who tends to take their creative work far too seriously and needs constant reminders to relish the highs and the lows inherent in making art, I know that BIG MAGIC is a book I'll refer back to for years to come whenever I feel anxious or stuck. Say what you will about Gilbert's creative philosophy or her occasionally patronizing comments--there are more than enough gems in this text to make up for them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! The sly wit and nuanced commentary. A very fun read.
Lauren-Forde More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jackie-c More than 1 year ago
The saying you can't judge a book by its cover really comes into play with this book. The cover is vibrant and intriguing; which is everything this book is not. Gilbert gives numerous ways that a person can transform their life by living creatively and pushing fear aside, and then proceeds to follow her advice with stories from her life that explain how she came to learn that advice. The entire book follows that pattern and it becomes very repetitive and boring. The advice she gives is all common sense; I would say most people already know that if they want to live creatively they need to bring creativity into their lives. They do not need to read this entire book to figure that out. I would also say they you could learn everything you need too by only reading the first few sentences of each paragraph of this book. Unless you really intrigued by the life of Elizabeth Gilbert and how she has come to understand all of her “rules” for creative living then you can get the gist of it without reading a huge chunk of this book. The only section of this book that is worth reading is the education section. Gilbert talks about many aspects of education, if and when it's really necessary, and other things you can do if you can not afford to extend your studies. All in all this book was not my cup of tea. Unless you're a huge gilbert fan I would recommend a book that is more straight to the point and isn't full of a bunch of unnecessary filler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Firts Audio book I have listened too and even though I missed reading... It made for a great companion on Elizabeth's voice while driving across the state. Beautiful, light and inspiring!
nataschajaffa More than 1 year ago
This is the first time in a while I’ve read a non-fiction book that hasn’t bored me to death and I’ve actually enjoyed. Come to think of it, it’s been since Elizabeth Gilbert’s last book, Eat Pray Love. I’ll be honest, that book changed my life. It gave me the courage to grab hold of my idea of success and start my own editing firm, which I ran successfully for a full three years. And her recent book Big Magic was no different. I was curious about the idea of living a creative life without fear. I take huge risks in my creative business all the time. That’s just the kind of person I am. I already have the courage to live a creative life. If I don’t take the chance, the answer is always no and I’ve never asked anyone’s permission to become an author. Sure, I regret my decision sometimes, I pull out my hair, and I wallow in disappointment when I encounter set backs, but I wanted to read another author’s perception to ease that sense of failure. After all, I’m not alone in this business, right? I didn’t get that with this book. Of course, Gilbert recounts her set backs, how long and how hard her journey to publication was, and a handful of reasons not to continue with the work, but that wasn’t the message I took away. In the end, I realized that no matter how hard I work, no matter how much time I put into a project, no matter what I think I might deserve, that work might not pay off. And I really needed to hear that. No matter how many people don’t agree with that concept, that’s the way of living a creative life. Now I can move on with my creative endeavors with more meaning and happiness in my work rather than a focus on success. It just took a little convincing.
HistoryLover18 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book by Elizabeth Gilbert that I've read and I was not disappointed. I took so much away from this book and highly recommend it.
WanderingwithAshley More than 1 year ago
The best book I've ever read so far BESIDES Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth Gilbert forced me to be confident as an artist and let go of all the complaints within myself of not feeling good enough. She is truly a skilled writer and such an inspiration. This book will take you on a journey just as Eat, Pray, Love did. Only this time, the journey isn't Elizabeth's, its yours!
19269684 More than 1 year ago
 I have to admit, I was duped by this book.  I was expecting a fictional tale like Eat, Pray, Love, that would encourage me to always go for what I desired in life.  Instead I got an out and out, self-help book.  It's okay though... I liked it!      Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert is all about finding the inner-You!  It's about seeking what your heart truly longs for then hot to g about making it yours.  Broken down into six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity, you're equipped to, as she explains how to "bring forth the hidden treasure within you."  Nothing wrong with that, yeah?       What I love most is how she encourages you to not go about taking on loans to attend universities but to bravely explore on your own, making your experiences your teacher instead.  She also suggests you do what you want, regardless of what it may be, in order to be happy doing that thing instead of trying to be famous or rich.  Don't do it for money but for the love and experience of it all.   *Book provided by Shelf Awareness, for an honest review. For more on this review….
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I devoured this book! I loved all of the magical, mystical insights into how creativity works, what squashes it and how to nurture it and be at peace with fear (let it come along for the ride but keep it out of the driver's seat!). Elizabeth says not to write a book "to help someone" but help me she did! A fun read and so practical too giving some old myths the heave-ho.
inspiredmartha More than 1 year ago
This is a quick, anecdotal, and generally inspirational read. The title is a bit troubling...I'm not sure why she goes with the "magic" theme when her approach to creativity is decidedly pragmatic. The idea of the book she never wrote wasn't so very "magical" to me considering it was based on an actual historical event, which many writers use for inspiration. But that's not really important. A lot of advice is given here; none of it particularly new; three especially good points, for example: 1. Think long and hard about getting that advanced degree unless you can pay for it (often it's a way for creatives to put off going about creating but the crippling debt may not be worth it) I would add to that: take classes offered by professionals to hone your skills and inspire you. Go to conferences and galleries and similarly network with other creatives. 2. Deny the "tortured artist" routine that in no way indicates creative brilliance. 3. Take the pressure off your creative practice and keep a day job. Her voice is conversational, sometimes overly so, and her approach to living with creativity sensible, illustrated with concrete personal and professional experiences. I was surprised at how short it was, but I do appreciate brevity. I think most creatives would appreciate the POV/inspiration offered by Gilbert.
HL6 More than 1 year ago
I've been looking forward to this book for a while, and must say it was worth the wait. Warm, engaging, clever and a bit eccentric—it's a great read. And, as if more was necessary, it's likely to improve the lives of creative people everywhere (which means, Gilbert says, all of us).