Living a creative life can be terrifying and at times panic-inducing. Luckily, with her book “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert is here to remind us creatives that it’s okay to be afraid – we just have to keep creating. This book is full of amazing advice for anyone who’s currently creating or who wants to create. Read on for my full review and to learn how this book helped me overcome fear and find my creative voice again.
The wise voice of Liz Gilbert
Ah, Liz Gilbert – one of my favorite writers EVER and a woman who has been a huge influence on my life since I first picked up Eat, Pray, Love twelve years ago. Liz’s voice is so unique in that one minute she’s cracking jokes that have you laughing out loud and the next minute she’s laying down such SERIOUS truth that you almost have to stop to catch your breath. She may seem like a paradox – wise and approachable, idealistic and practical, full of both self-love and a healthy dose of self-deprecation – but it somehow all. just. works.
As a huge fan of Eat, Pray, Love since I first read it at fourteen (I’ve read it every few years since then and I always get some new wisdom out of it – I know people have super divisive opinions about it but I unequivocally love it okay?!), I was very excited to read this book. But, to be honest, I never bought it because I haven’t considered myself a creative person for many, many years now. What could I possibly get out of this book since I’m not doing anything creative? I thought. But I kept hearing amazing things about it, and shelved it (metaphorically) in the back of my mind to maaaaaybe one day read it.
Reigniting my creativity and finding my creative voice
When I recently realized that I am actually still a Creative Person, one of the first things I did was buy Big Magic because now, I felt like I had a reason to read it. I AM A CREATIVE! I heard myself say ecstatically as I personally reinstated myself into the Creative People Club. When Big Magic arrived, I started reading it immediately and devoured it in two days. Now, I love reading but I can’t remember the last time I read a book that fast! I felt like every page spoke to me on such a deep level – Liz’s words were once again reaching out to me in a time of fear and uncertainty to wrap themselves around me in comfort and love.
The truth is, anytime we create something or put something out there, it’s terrifying! When we put our creative pursuits on display for others, it’s like our minds are immediately filled with at best mild self-doubt and comparison and at worst crippling and soul-crushing anxiety. Liz carefully guides the reader through these thoughts and provides a life-boat to keep us from completely drowning in them.
She is both a cheerleader and offers a much-needed reality check: “Create whatever you want to create,” she writes. “And let it be stupendously imperfect, because it’s exceedingly likely that nobody will even notice. And that’s awesome.” And more than that, the world won’t come to a halt because of a negative review! She offers such wonderful perspective that can get lost when we’re so in the thick of our own worries. As a recently reinstated creative (feels good to be back in the club!), I got so much out of this book and the endless words of wisdom that Liz provides.
Have you read Big Magic? What did you think of it? What was your favorite piece of advice she gave?
P.S. If you liked the book, check out Liz’s podcast Magic Lessons. Which segues well into my next post (see what I did there?!), which will be all about why I love podcasts and the importance of being a lifelong learner.