What Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic' Taught Me

Thursday, 10 August 2017


This probably isn't the first blog post you've read about Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic'. I call it the blogger hand book, as it gets creative thinkers out of the funk.

But 'Big Magic' isn't only for people who label themselves as gifted. It is a guide to think creatively.

Gilbert teaches you how to think diversely from our standard, pessimistic, anxious and negative thoughts.

One of her valuable approaches, out of the countless practices to live a creative life, is to expect the best instead of the worse. What happens if the project that you've been afraid to tell anyone about is actually a genius idea? You've got a blog idea - go for it - even though there are zillions of blogs out there, there isn't one that is crafted by you. Who knows, you could have the most viewed lifestyle blog! You could have a YouTube page that holds more subscribers than Zoella! You will never know unless you start creating.

But don't worry or kick yourself if something bad happens as a result of you taking a chance. Because the world will continue to spin and the birds will carry on singing.

Gilbert highlights that our fear is overpowering and prevents us from taking more opportunities.

Somehow, a woman I have never met before has grasped exactly why I doubt myself in doing more creative things. She knows that I'm afraid of what people will say about my work. She knows that I can be a perfectionist, therefore, I won't do anything because I'm scared I will fail. She knows being creativity is more than a hobby, it is essential in my life.

If you haven't read it already, I don't know what you're waiting for. It'll be your 'go-to' when you're feeling uninspired or doubtful. I could write so much more about Gilbert's work of wonder but I think I'll leave it to her.

Here are some of my treasured quotes to lift your spirits.


"But such thinking assumes there is a 'top' - and that reaching the top (and staying there) is the only motive one has to create. Such thinking assumes that the mysteries of inspiration operate on the same scale that we do - on a limited human scales of success and failure, of winning and losing, of comparison and competition, of commerce and reputation, of units sold and influence wielded."

This quote reminds me that it's not all about winning. Not every single product of your creativity has to be popular, successful or loved. She later on writes:

"Creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience"

If your unpopular work is weighing you down, just remember that inspiration is magic, and we should feel grateful that we can create things, good or bad.

 She wishes that her favourite writers, Harper Lee and F Scott Fitzgerald, should have written "anything and put it out there with reckless abandon... ignore the outcome." She would have loved to read more of their work, no matter if it was rubbish, she longed to have a larger collection of their novels. 

"Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don't even bother trying to be creative in the first place."


Now, Gilbert is definitely talking to me about this:


"Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants to lead you. Keep in mind that for the most of history people just made things, and they didn't make such a big freaking deal of it. We make things because we like making things."


I don't think I need to explain that one. Why do we constantly take ourselves so seriously? I stopped blogging for a while because I didn't think I was good enough. But as soon as I got back into it, I hated that I stopped. I love blogging because I can express myself, not because I want to get views or comments. It is my hobby because I love to write. It is only a plus (not essential) when I see people have read it.

"You not required to save the world with your creativity."


I told my friend Ruby that the other day. She said she wants to create films but believe that she needs to help people instead. That's so wonderful of her. So selfless and charitable. But I told her, thanks to Gilbert, that helping others shouldn't stop you from creating what you want to create. Gilbert wrote 'Eat, Pray, Love' for herself. Totally for herself. And miraculously she has helped and supported so many readers even though it wasn't meant to be a self-help novel!

Gilbert says if we base our lives on aiding others with our creative work - we will never be truly happy. There will always be some one out there who needs rescuing. That is a ton of weight to put on your shoulders.

"It's okay if your work is fun for you... healing for you... or totally frivolous. That's allowed. It's all allowed."

It's absolutely brilliant that there are people willing to place themselves last. But it shouldn't stop you from doing what you've dreamed about.


"Your own reasons to create are reason enough. Merely by pursuing what you love, you may inadvertently end up helping us plenty."



The best evidence to bloggers trying to become full-time professional bloggers is: don't do it for the money. You'll be disappointed by how much work you'll have to put in. You'll be disheartened that your views aren't increasing. So do it for the love of creating.


"The rewards had to come from the eternal results - I knew that. The rewards had to come from the joy of puzzling out the work itself... If someday I got lucky enough to be paid for my work, that would be great, but in the meantime, money could always come from other places."

Gilbert had me kissing the book when I read this evidence:

"You are free, because everyone is too busy fussing over themselves to worry all that much about you. Go be whoever you want to be. Do whatever you want to do."

This is when I realised I need to leave fear at home, tuck it in bed, and go to the party. Having fear and anxiety about what others think shouldn't be a reason to stop us from producing.

I would love love love to write more about my reflections on Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic', but I think I'll leave that to you to discover more. I'm sure I'll be mentioning this book again (and I have already) throughout my writing because it is honestly a game-changer.

After each and every chapter I found myself going 'ahhh, that's so true! I never thought of it like that!'

*******


If anyone else knows of any other books that are similar to this, please let me know!

If you already have an extensive reading list and there's not enough room for another. I'd advise you to watch this interview of Gilbert with Marie Forleo.



Photos were taken at Clerkenwell Grind.


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