01-big-magic-book-review

The book Big Magic was written by author Elizabeth Gilbert. Most known for having written the book Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert followed that book’s major success up with having public conversations on places like TED to discuss the role of inspiration in creativity, and how having major success can be quite a burden on the artist. Although success is something that all people strive for, in the arts it can be quite a difficult thing to strike a balance with. You want success so that you can make a living from your art, but success also means a lot of unnatural attention, and pressure to reproduce what you did before. Sometimes people can get the impression that once you hit a certain level of success that you need to top that. This can put a lot of pressure on artists who feel like they need to be a mega-star.

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In Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert gives a lot of incredibly wise insights on how she feels that a person can live an artistic and creative life, wether you’re an artist or not. A lot of this has to do with not complaining, and not being impatient. To Elizabeth Gilbert inspiration is an ethereal and discerning force. In her book she explains her belief that if you do not allow yourself to be a proper vessel for creativity, creativity will not choose you to carry out its whims. By complaining constantly, or looking at creativity as a burden, you are basically swatting away opportunities for inspiration to find you. You are sending a signal to the universe that you aren’t easy to work with, and inspiration will find someone else to realize their plans. Elizabeth Gilbert’s book is very conversational. I often felt as if she were right next to me while I was reading it, talking to me. It felt very personal, as if it were almost a two way conversation. I really enjoyed it for that. It felt like she really nailed a lot of the problems that people face when they are looking for the courage to live a life that is more satisfying. This means taking risks and being brave. Sometimes people feel as if they need permission to do the things they want. Wether it is trying to make a start up pottery business, or to join an ice skating league, or what ever it may be. Sometimes people feel hindered by what other people think, or that they’ll embarrass themselves, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s answer to that is “So what?” It doesn’t matter the outcome, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a gold metal winner or just someone who wants to do something new and fun because of the pure joy of it. There’s not point in caving in, to be afraid, or to complain because frankly, it’s just boring. Quotes-From-Elizabeth-Gilbert-Big-Magic-2

Oftentimes, some of the most innovative things that have come to pass in the world were all thought of at the same time. The same time that Ford was developing the Model-T, other places in the world were trying to make vehicles, you had Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison making innovations at the same time in electricity. Point being that inspiration can strike many people at the same time with the same idea. Elizabeth Gilbert tells a story in her book about how she and a colleague of hers actually came up with very specific stories that were extraordinarily similar. She uses this story as an example of the fact that inspiration can hit people with similar ideas. She also uses this story to explain that if you don’t prove that you are the right vessel for an idea to manifest itself, it will find someone else.

Check out my video review of Big magic

When it comes down to it, I think Elizabeth Gilbert is very “new age” with her ideas. She is very open minded, and very willing to have ideas about inspiration and creativity that are somewhat uncommon. Since these ideas can be very arbitrary and personal I’d say that I don’t adhere to these ideas so strongly that I would call them my beliefs. Creativity is a mysterious thing, and it would be hard to define what it is or what it isn’t. But the ideas that Gilbert presents in her book are benign, and I really think they can help a lot of people. I think the idea that creativity is seeking out people for which they can use to make them come to life is a benign one. Because ultimately that means that you have to try your best to be happy, healthy, and open in order to bring new things into the world. Taking care of yourself, and having a good attitude can make the difference between being content in your life with many projects going on, or miserable with nothing. I’d prefer to live without the made up notion that being an artist is a burden.

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