Big Magic is a cheerfully optimistic invitation to dare to live a creative life chasing dreams from the woman who introduced the Bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love”. She dives into the nitty gritty of what creativity is, how it happens and how important is to living a fulfilling life. She inspires and educates her readers to dream big, ten she gives them the the attitudes and habits needed to choose to go for what we want in life, instead of choosing fear. Authors, writers, painters, or aspiring business owners or travellers will feel inspired to take first steps by Elizabeth Gilbert’s empowering words.
My key Takeaways from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Takeaway #1 Don't Let Fear Stop Your Creativity
Are you living up to your full creative potential or have you let fear take over? More than likely your education and career stemmed your curiosity and creative flow or your disappointment at creating artwork that you didn't deem good enough put a stop to your creative playtime. You don't have to take creativity seriously, creativity doesn't mean you have to become an artist or a designer, it doesn't need to take over from your day job, you don't need to be good at it, you don't need to have exhibitions, you don't need to earn money from it, you just need to enjoy it! Being creative means doing something that you enjoy, that makes you feel bold or brave and brings you excitement and can range from arts and crafts to baking, writing, even rock climbing. It's never too late to try something new, something that sparks your curiosity, just be sure not to let fear hold you back from trying it and continuing, your fears should coexist with your creativity.
Takeaway #2 Grab Ideas and Run With Them
Ideas are magical and if you don't grab them when they come along, someone else will. Don't dismiss that idea you had because you're too busy or because it's too different, allow it to take shape and grab it, before someone else runs with it and you end up regretting that you didn't try! Maybe you have the opposite problem, so many ideas but you're never able to follow through and complete any of them despite several attempts. In this instance you need to get out of your own way, don't let your inner voice whisper that you're not good enough or that this is a waste of time, go with it anyway and see what happens – If you get rejected, don't take it personally, your creativity should fulfill you first and others second.
Takeaway #3 Don't Try To Be Original – Just Be You
The thought of creating something original is enough to halt all of us in our creative tracks so don't even try, just be you – Share your magic, your story, your power, your creativity and know that being you is enough. When you have a great new idea, don't Google it to see if anyone else is doing it because you'll be crestfallen to find they are, just run with the idea anyway and make it your own, be unoriginal but heartfelt and never get caught up trying to be perfect as perfectionism is poisonous to creativity.
Best Quotes from Big Magic
"The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them... So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?"
"You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures... What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success essentially become irrelevant?"
"A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself."
"It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at."
"You're not required to save the world with your creativity. Your art not only doesn't have to be original, in other words, it also doesn't have to be important. For example, whenever anyone tells me that they want to write a book in order to help other people I always think 'Oh, please don't. Please don't try to help me.' I mean it's very kind of you to help people, but please don't make it your sole creative motive because we will feel the weight of your heavy intention, and it will put a strain upon our souls... "
"to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that."
"We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth—nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow."
"perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat"
"Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes."
"Own your disappointment, acknowledge it for what it is, and move on."
"If you’re alive, you’re a creative person."
"You can clear out whatever obstacles are preventing you from living your most creative life, with the simple understanding that whatever is bad for you is probably also bad for your work."
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear