8 September 2016

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert - Book Review

Big Magic is a book about creativity and how to embrace your creative call in life without getting stuck in fear or complex life situations. Through her ironical and very witty style, Gilbert focuses on the problems that arise from the condition of aspiring artist in a very realistic way that, however, doesn't forget the sparkle of an artistic life choice.

I enjoyed the book very much. It's an easy read that feels like a chat with an old friend, but that is very rich with life lessons and powerful ideas. Gilbert's style is very smooth and colloquial and it conveys ideas right to the point.

Some of the main ideas that stuck with me from the book:
- Whenever you decide to write a book, create an artwork, do gardening or any other art form, keep a day job so you don't remain broken from it. Whatever your aspiration, always make sure you have a stable financial source that gives you peace of mind, since it is not sure that you'll be able to financially or fame wise succeed as an artist (besides, not having money might put you in a bad mood and ruin your book -/ artwork);
- When an idea reaches you as an artist, grab your entire self to it and don't let it go! All ideas are like little entities with a soul, and they choose a person to interact with, but when not listened to they will move on to another person. "Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest" (this was by far my favourite chapter and idea of the entire book);
- Don't let fear stop you from any creative action you wish to take: if it's a book for instance, you don't necessarily have to publish it. You can simply do it to enjoy yourself! On the other hand, use fear as a source for survival:
- Don't complain about your work. Convince yourself that you are enjoying it: it's the only way it's going to bring you far. Of course it's difficult to create things, but you need to empower yourself and keep going;
Learning how to endure your disappointment and frustration is part of the job if a creative person. [...] What are you passionate enough about that you can endure the most disagreable aspects of your work? 
- Be brave. Be bold. Screw people who might not like your work;
- Authenticity counts more than originality.

And since I'd been thinking of writing a story for a long time, this book pushed me to plan it and hopefully start writing it soon. I highlighted it, wrote on it and took mental notes to keep all the inspiration it breathed inside me. This is why I'd like to highly recommend it to aspiring authors more than any other artist, although it might help others too.

My edition: Elizabeth Gilbert, 2015. Big Magic. Creative Living Beyond Fear. New York: Riverhead Books. Pages: 273. Amazing edition! I love the cover - it was made by a creative Etsy team by throwing colourful powders and taking a picture on the very moment. Bought at Paperback Exchange, Florence.


  1. This book sounds wonderful! And the cover is incredible too! I think it's wonderful that you're writing book :) x

    Megan |

    1. It really is Megan! I'm still planning it... but yes that would be my purpose :)

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