Big Magic – a book review

DSC_8732A friend lend me her copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic as she kept praising of how good of a read read it was. Dealing with creative’ block for many years now, I was ready to give it a try. I already stumbled upon Gilbert’s TEDtalk a long time ago and listening to her talk gave me some reassurance at that time, however it wasn’t enough for me to recollect my strength to get back into doing what I once loved doing so much. Big Magic on the other hand, makes it a lot more accessible to ease your creative struggles with practical advice on how to live your artistic life effectively with less pressure and anxiety.

The writer defines in her book the phenomenon of what she calls big magic, to my understanding it is the enhanced artistic experience of divine creativity. She gradually builds a better understanding of how to understand the process of creativity, how it comes to you, how to handle it, how to recall it and how to allow yourself to enjoy it.

She firstly describes in depth a rather different perspective on ideas and inspiration; what they are and how they come to us. To her philosophy they are not our creations, ideas or possessions. They are a separate organism, inhabiting this planet. Ideas wander around in search for a compatible partner/person to work with (to channel through). The ultimate goal of an idea is to become reality. Therefore when an idea grabs your attention, it will stick to you in the hope to become true through you. However when you give up on the idea, postpone it or let it wait for too long, it might pass on and go to the next person to grab its attention. Therefore it shouldn’t come as a surprise when someone else comes up with an accomplished version of “your” idea. It looks like that person stole the exact idea, but actually it isn’t. Somehow the other person made the idea happen and you simply didn’t.

Once you come to understand this phenomenon, you can also comprehend that creative inspiration is a magical flow that you can learn to open up to. I reckon that if you applying minimalism upon this theory, you’ll learn to see that once you know something isn’t working out for you, you have to toss it, say goodbye to it and with that; you will open yourself up to new possibilities. You have to allow yourself to work with a clear canvas each time you need new inspiration, instead of holding on to ideas that don’t work out for you.

Further along the book the writer points out many artistic problems that artists will recognize and face at some point in their creative life. She reflects upon these issues and gives you a clear message on how she has found to deal with such creative issues thanks to a healthy attitude. Her stories are inspiring and even funny at times, which makes reading this enjoyable and light-hearted. But most of al, the book is relatable and therefore helpful. She fully encourages you to embrace your creativity and let go of your own artistic pressures.

I won’t go too deep into each aspect of the book (although I think this is pretty in-depth as it is), but I can tell you for sure that I have truly enjoyed reading this book from start to finish, and I don’t say this often; but I believe I might read this book again in the future.

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