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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

4.5 23
by Elizabeth Gilbert

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The instant #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller

Named a Hot Fall Read by USA Today, Vanity Fair, Newsday, O Magazine, the Seattle Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Mashable, Pop Sugar, and the San Antonio Express-News

Named a Best Book of the Year by Brainpickings and Book Riot

"A must read for anyone hoping to


The instant #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller

Named a Hot Fall Read by USA Today, Vanity Fair, Newsday, O Magazine, the Seattle Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Mashable, Pop Sugar, and the San Antonio Express-News

Named a Best Book of the Year by Brainpickings and Book Riot

"A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of.
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Big Magic: 

The instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

“Big Magic is a celebration of a creative life…Gilbert’s love of creativity is infectious, and there’s a lot of great advice in this sunny book…Gilbert doesn’t just call for aspiring artists to speak their truth, however daffy that may appear to others; she is showing them how.” —Washington Post

"In [Gilbert’s] first foray into full-on self-help [she] shares intimate glimpses into the life of a world-famous creative, complete with bouts of paralyzing fear and frustration, in an attempt to coax the rest of us into walking through the world just a little bit braver.”  —Elle

“The Eat, Pray, Love author demystifies the tricky business of creativity. We’re all ears.” —Cosmopolitan

“Elizabeth Gilbert is my new spirit animal… I have profoundly changed my approach to creating since I read this book." —Huffington Post

“Gilbert leads readers through breaking out of their own creative ruts, finding fulfillment, and facing fear while finding balance between our spiritual and pragmatic beings in her forth coming book. Yes, please.” —Bustle

“Big Magic will resonate with writers and artists who find the process of producing work to be particularly painful…Through anecdotes about her creative failures and resourcefulness, as well as those other artists, Gilbert encourages readers to pursue a creative life ‘that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear." —Daily Beast

"Gilbert demystifies the creative process, examining the practices of great artists to shed light on finding inspiration in the every day.” —Harper’s Bazaar
“Part inspiration, part how-to, it offers up both a philosophy of creativity and advice for living a more creatively fulfilling life.”—Fast Company

“Big Magic tackles the challenges of living the creative life…Reading it is a little like having a coach by your side, cheering on your efforts – whatever they are – candidly and selflessly.” –Christian Science Monitor

“Gilbert [writes] with sincerity and humility about the joy that creativity has given her... If you enjoyed Eat Pray Love, if you are drawn to self-help or inspirational books, or if you just like to bask in another person’s positive glow, you’ll love Big Magic.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Big Magic wants to help its readers live creatively…[Gilbert believes] creativity is inside all of us, it should be expressed, and it is not selfish or crazy or foolish to do so – it is in fact the best way to live a satisfying life...[Big Magic] constitutes good advice…[in a voice that’s] charming, personable, self-aware, jokey, conversational….[and] that Gilbert does so well.” —New York Times Book Review

“A lucid and luminous inquiry into the relationship between human beings and the mysteries of the creative experience… What makes her book so immensely helpful is precisely its lived and living nature…wholly electrifying.” —Brainpickings
"Gilbert tackles heavy, sensitive subject matter but keeps it light, making what's essentially a self-help book feel like a good talk with a friend rather than a sermon." —Associated Press
“Transformative.” —Flavorwire

“Gilbert’s trademark warmth and enthusiasm abounds...wise...[and] pointed." —Boston Globe

“Part pat-on-the-back, part slap-in-the-face, [Big Magic is] a permission slip for readers to stop making excuses and get to work… a fresh and modern surprise that fans of her work will relish." —Wichita Eagle

“Funny. Insightful. Honest. Irreverent...But, of course, most of us have read Gilbert before and these qualities find their way into all of her works. The particular form of magic in Big Magic comes in a very unusual wrapping: hope and love...Big Magic read[s] like a devotional. Like a love letter to the earnest artist inside most of our hearts.” —Books and Whatnot

“Distinctly refreshing." —TED Ideas Blog

“Big Magic will leave you feeling inspired to be curious, brave, free, and, most of all, creative.” -Lauren Conrad

"Full of chatty advice, pep talks, amusing and inspiring stories...Gilbert’s idea of living creatively may incorporate touches of magic, but she’s practical in the extreme.” —Miami Herald

“In her signature conversational style, both sassy and serious, Gilbert invokes high- and low-brow cultural references and recommends we channel our inner trickster… [Her] manifesto is a book to read through quickly, and then start again to discover any big magic you may have missed.” – KMUW

"Big Magic ripples with Gilbert’s enthusiasm, choice metaphor, and humor." -LitHub

“Gilbert will completely change the way you think about the creative process.”—Indienext

“The writing here is so friendly and funny that Gilbert’s perspective on creative living goes down like lemonade in summer." —BookPage

“From the deeply self-aware, poetically gifted author of Eat, Pray, Love comes... the best nonfiction book I’ve read in years. For anyone who's ever struggled with feeling worthy to express themselves through art, or been discouraged by the absence of inspiration, I'm not being hyperbolic when I say this book might just change your life.” —Mind Body Green

“Inspirational… Big Magic provides a guidebook for anyone wanting to live a more creative life. You don’t have to be an artist to get value out of this book; it is for anyone who wants to live with more joy, love, happiness, and abundance in their world.”—YAHOO! SHOPPING

“Gilbert, author of the wildly successful memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” and a successful novelist (“The Signature of All Things”) offers her prescriptions for unlocking the creativity within.” —Seattle Times

“Whatever your artistic pursuit, you’ll nod in agreement as Elizabeth Gilbert reflects on the elusive, frustrating and sometimes comically strange process of creativity. Thoughtful and funny, Gilbert makes an excellent case for doing whatever it takes to unlock your inner artist and find more joy in life.” —Woman's Day

“What Gilbert’s offering her fans…[is] permission to be creative…[She] is interested in the importance of creativity for the individual’s soul…When you hear the people who want to create, and the gratitude they feel toward [her], you can’t help feeling that she’s healed them—that she has, in fact, become the kind of guru she once sought.” —The New Yorker, on the "Magic Lessons" podcast series
“The latest from Gilbert is all about you—that’s 268 pages of practical advice for tapping into your own creativity... Consider her your own personal life coach.”—Marie Claire
"A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar

“Elizabeth Gilbert is an exceptionally gifted author…and this book is remarkable…. It is so densely packed with pearls of wisdom that I read it once for pleasure, and then again to unpack and outline the text just like I used to do in college…A must-read for anyone on the creative spectrum, from those who don’t think there is a creative bone in their body to those who make a living from their artistic expression.” –Yakima Herald

“Reading Big Magic is the next best thing to hiring Elizabeth Gilbert [as your] coach.”—PARNASSUS BOOKS

“A joyful ride through the enigmatic jungle of creative existence… [Big Magic] is not just about the production of artistic works but about building a life that nurtures the creative being in all of us.”—CREATIV Magazine

"Big Magic [is ]… fearless of voice and heart-opening in authenticity; in short, a book worthy of its name." —Literary Inklings

“A conversational, intimate glimpse into Gilbert’s process and philosophy, as personable as a confab over coffee… essential reading for anyone who wants to live a larger life, filled with more ideas, more projects, and more fulfillment…Big Magic is powerful stuff.” –Barnes & Noble Blog

“A book-length meditation on inspiration.” —Newsday

“Whether you long to write the great American novel or you just want to be more present and mindful in your daily life, you can find plenty of inspiration in this self-help tome… … the can-do, optimistic tone makes for an uplifting read.” –All You Magazine

"[Gilbert will] make you feel giddy about creation." –Medium

"Gilbert mines her writer's career to provide unique, inspiring and constructive insights on how to navigate the wild ride that is the creative life... Her charming nuggets are wise, comforting and ultimately encouraging." –About.com

“Gilbert offers helpful suggestions for outwitting writer’s block and perfectionism...and lets a tart sense of humor emerge." -Columbus Dispatch

“Anyone living with some manifestation of writer’s block (or any other artistic variant of such affliction) will find [Gilbert's] sage advice is effectively a worthwhile kick in the butt… Without the smallest hint of narcissism, the mega-bestselling author shares the pinnacles and pitfalls of failure and success and how to wrangle the criticism, inside and out.”—Steamboat Pilot & Today

“Gilbert sweetly yet powerfully nudges readers to release fear, summon courage and allow the ‘strange jewels’ hidden within each of us to emerge and shine. The end result is the ‘big magic’… Engaging storytelling mixed with personal anecdotes and astute insights make Big Magic a rewarding, motivating and delightful read.” —Sucess Magazine

“There's nothing hippie-dippy about Gilbert's raw, honest, and downright hilarious observations of her own creative plight...This isn't a How-To guide for creative living; this is the story of how one woman simply figured things out for herself, and learned how to live in harmony with her own creative soul. All can find a kind of solemn peace and reassurance in her words.” -Everyday eBook

“A transformative nonfiction treatise on creativity…Filled with her signature humor, big-heartedness, wild vulnerability and wisdom, Gilbert delivers a vibrant and inspirational book.” -About Town Magazine

"A booster that will help you out of any rut.” -Kansas City Star

"The author of Eat Pray Love, who has already changed so many lives, now looks to change thinking on creativity." -The New York Daily News

“Worth a read for any artist struggling for some peace and quiet in a head bursting with creativity."
– Bustle, Included in “9 Books To Help You Find Inner Peace”

"Some might call Elizabeth Gilbert by the name Queen Midas … Everything she touches seems to turn to gold. A rare gift, this book acknowledges difficulty, but empowers its readers to transcend it in the name of the beautiful mysteries of existence.” —WNC Woman Magazine

“A magnificent guide to how to be creative…[and] a heartfelt gem… I simultaneously wanted to quickly turn the page to see what was next while savoring the advice on each page… Gilbert is determined to guide you into the light. Go with her.” —Jersey Journal

"Irresistible…If creativity is something you value highly—both in others and as fundamental to your own existence—you should find much to love in Big Magic, whether or not you typically gravitate toward creativity guides.” —Chapter 16

"A non-fiction tour-de force...pragmatic, rational, and wholly convincing." —Reader's Digest UK

“A treasure map to unleash your most creative and expressive life.” –Marie TV

“Big Magic seeks to both inspire you and strip you of any excuse to not pursue your creative interests…[it’s] passionate, down-to-earth and bursting with Gilbert’s obvious love for the subject matter and her readers… a delight to read.” –Pop Mythology 

“An empathetic and inspiring guide to mustering the courage to live a creative life. … Nearly anyone who picks up this self-help manual should finish it feeling inspired, even if only to dream of a life without limits.” —Publisher's Weekly (starred review) 

"Gilbert serves as an enthusiastic coach for readers who want more out of life. Highly recommended." —Library Journal (starred review)

“Gilbert’s wise and motivating book of encouragement and advice will induce readers not only to follow specific artistic dreams but also to live life more creatively, fully, and contentedly.” – Booklist

"The sincerity, grace, and flashes of humor that characterize [Gilbert’s] writing and insights should appeal to a wider audience…warmly inspirational.” —Kirkus


Publishers Weekly
★ 06/15/2015
Gilbert (The Signature of All Things) offers an empathetic and inspiring guide to mustering the courage to live a creative life. That doesn’t necessarily mean a career in the arts, she’s quick to point out (“If you’re alive, you’re a creative person,” she states); instead, she proposes a life fueled by curiosity rather than fear. Gilbert, more than most, can understand how a big success can make one feel as if the follow-up must not disappoint, writing that “I can’t tell you how many people said to me during those years , ‘How are you ever going to top that?’ ” She notes that this kind of pressure can be an instant creativity killer and encourages readers to let go of perfectionism and embrace being good enough. This mind-set, in her experience, leads to the willingness to take chances, live life to the fullest, and act on risky ideas. Gilbert divides her book into six sections, each devoted to a quality she believes necessary for living without fear: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity. In each section, Gilbert peppers sound advice with personal triumphs and failures. Nearly anyone who picks up this self-help manual should finish it feeling inspired, even if only to dream of a life without limits. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, Wylie Agency. (Sept.)
Library Journal
★ 07/01/2015
Gilbert, of Eat Pray Love fame, aims to encourage lives more strongly driven by curiosity than by fear. Having the courage to do that, says the author, will lead to an enchanted existence. Readers start the process by daily respecting their inclinations and creative instincts then running with them. Persistence and trust in oneself through failures are necessary challenges—the only way to find hidden internal treasure—that will result in discovering a divine spirit within. VERDICT Gilbert serves as an enthusiastic coach for readers who want more out of life. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 3/9/15.]
Kirkus Reviews
The bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love reflects on what it means to pursue a creative life. At the beginning of her latest book, Gilbert (The Signature of All Things, 2013, etc.) writes that creativity is "the relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration." Then the author explains how individuals can live that relationship on a daily basis. First and foremost, she writes, people seeking to live creatively and pursue the things that bring them satisfaction must be prepared to live courageously. Only then can they "bring forth the treasures that are hidden within [them]." Gilbert also suggests that the ideas on which all creative acts are based do not come from a person: they are "disembodied, energetic life-form[s]" that seek human hosts who can make them real. This is part of what the author believes makes creativity itself a "force of enchantment—not entirely human in its origins." To actually manifest ideas requires what Gilbert sees as the ability to give oneself permission to engage in creative acts regardless of what anyone else may think. It also requires persistence and being able to stomach the many "shit sandwiche[s]" of disappointment and frustration that so often go along with creative endeavors. Having a burning passion for the work involved—the intensity of which Gilbert likens to a "hot…extramarital affair"—is also crucial. So is trusting in the creative process—no matter how eccentric and/or nonlinear it may seem—and in the idea that "the work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you." Not all readers will embrace the New-Age way in which Gilbert discusses the creative process, but the sincerity, grace, and flashes of humor that characterize her writing and insights should appeal to a wider audience. Not earth shattering but warmly inspirational.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Praise for Eat Pray Love:
“Gilbert’s prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible.”—Jennifer Egan, The New York Times Book Review

“A meditation on love in its many forms … her extraordinary journey lets even the most cynical reader dare to dream.” – Los Angeles Times
Praise for The Signature of All Things:
“A bracing homage to the many natures of genius and the inevitable progress of ideas, in a world that reveals its best truths to the uncommonly patient minds.”– Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review
“Raucously ingenious…Signature is not just a historical novel that spans two centuries and many geographies.  It’s a 500-page novel of ideas…I found unshackled joy on every page.” — The Chicago Tribune
“A delightful book…one of the best of the year…Gilbert marries the technical, cultural and spiritual with a warm, frankly funny wit that adds richness to all three.”– “All Things Considered,” NPR

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and several other internationally bestselling books of fiction and nonfiction. Gilbert began her career writing for Harper's Bazaar, Spin, The New York Times Magazine and GQ, and was a three-time finalist for the National Magazine Award. Her story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award; The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The follow-up memoir Committed became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, was named a Best Book of 2013 by The New York Times, O Magazine, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and The New Yorker. Gilbert’s short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Story, One Story, and the Paris Review.

Brief Biography

Hudson Valley, New York
Date of Birth:
July 18, 1969
Place of Birth:
Waterbury, Connecticut
BA, New York University, 1991 (Political Science)

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one fantastic book! I can hardly wait to share it with "my world". Creativity needs to be recognized, argued with, developed and nurtured. Gilbert's examples are easily grasped, and this book is sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and will teach you things you already thought you knew. Is it obvious that I am an Elizabeth Gilbert fan? I've used her in sermons, I've celebrated with some of her mentees. I am an avid student and cheerleader for her living with her creativity. I've struggled with my own. Some of my best work has come from letting spirit take over. I also celebrate approaching creativity through its back door: when reality has your full attention, cooking, embroidery, painting....can bring you out of your head and reconnect with your heart and then transcendance can occur. Much like "Eat,Pray,Love", this will be a book to share with my friends
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seriously this book enticed me from the first line to the very last word. I loved how Elizabeth wrote so much that I drove and bought every single book she has published, and I am now going to begin reading those. This book does such a great job with self help and thoroughly explaining creative living. It has brought such a new, fresh, and innovative outlook to my life now. I will most definitely be reading this book over again and again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I so love Elizabeth Gilbert's view on living a creative life. She is honest, funny and relatable in this book that is meant to inspire but in a very realistic way. A must read for anyone and everyone!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a true eye opening book for me I just left a job I really didn't enjoy anymore to find my passion in life. Only to be home and suffer panic attacks this book gives me a feeling that I can recover it all again, it's all stil, in me and I'll get there. Wonderful and easy read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Because so many people raved about Ms. Gilbert's TED Talk, I came into this book.with high hopes. I was joping to be completely inspired. What I got was some good nuggets. I would describe this book as.being more like a series of blog posts and stories. Some are good;somenare repetitive. If you're already living a crrative life, you'l find the content a nice reminder of why you began creating in the first place. If you're a beginner or not yet living a crrative life, I think you'll get a lot more out of it.
EllenRozek 9 days ago
I'm not usually a fan of hippy-dippy self-help books, but there's a lot to be said for how calm and in control of my creativity BIG MAGIC made me feel. I took several more days than I needed to finish this book, just because I wanted some extra time to mull it over. Although I felt like Elizabeth Gilbert over-simplified some of the solutions for the struggles that creative types face, I appreciated her focus on the importance of changing your response to your creativity rather than obsessing about process. Besides, the central theme of BIG MAGIC is, at its core, pretty simple: Creativity doesn't need to be about anything more than enjoyment and pleasure. As someone who tends to take their creative work far too seriously and needs constant reminders to relish the highs and the lows inherent in making art, I know that BIG MAGIC is a book I'll refer back to for years to come whenever I feel anxious or stuck. Say what you will about Gilbert's creative philosophy or her occasionally patronizing comments--there are more than enough gems in this text to make up for them.
Anonymous 8 months ago
I loved this book! The sly wit and nuanced commentary. A very fun read.
Lauren-Forde More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jackie-c More than 1 year ago
The saying you can't judge a book by its cover really comes into play with this book. The cover is vibrant and intriguing; which is everything this book is not. Gilbert gives numerous ways that a person can transform their life by living creatively and pushing fear aside, and then proceeds to follow her advice with stories from her life that explain how she came to learn that advice. The entire book follows that pattern and it becomes very repetitive and boring. The advice she gives is all common sense; I would say most people already know that if they want to live creatively they need to bring creativity into their lives. They do not need to read this entire book to figure that out. I would also say they you could learn everything you need too by only reading the first few sentences of each paragraph of this book. Unless you really intrigued by the life of Elizabeth Gilbert and how she has come to understand all of her “rules” for creative living then you can get the gist of it without reading a huge chunk of this book. The only section of this book that is worth reading is the education section. Gilbert talks about many aspects of education, if and when it's really necessary, and other things you can do if you can not afford to extend your studies. All in all this book was not my cup of tea. Unless you're a huge gilbert fan I would recommend a book that is more straight to the point and isn't full of a bunch of unnecessary filler.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Firts Audio book I have listened too and even though I missed reading... It made for a great companion on Elizabeth's voice while driving across the state. Beautiful, light and inspiring!
nataschajaffa More than 1 year ago
This is the first time in a while I’ve read a non-fiction book that hasn’t bored me to death and I’ve actually enjoyed. Come to think of it, it’s been since Elizabeth Gilbert’s last book, Eat Pray Love. I’ll be honest, that book changed my life. It gave me the courage to grab hold of my idea of success and start my own editing firm, which I ran successfully for a full three years. And her recent book Big Magic was no different. I was curious about the idea of living a creative life without fear. I take huge risks in my creative business all the time. That’s just the kind of person I am. I already have the courage to live a creative life. If I don’t take the chance, the answer is always no and I’ve never asked anyone’s permission to become an author. Sure, I regret my decision sometimes, I pull out my hair, and I wallow in disappointment when I encounter set backs, but I wanted to read another author’s perception to ease that sense of failure. After all, I’m not alone in this business, right? I didn’t get that with this book. Of course, Gilbert recounts her set backs, how long and how hard her journey to publication was, and a handful of reasons not to continue with the work, but that wasn’t the message I took away. In the end, I realized that no matter how hard I work, no matter how much time I put into a project, no matter what I think I might deserve, that work might not pay off. And I really needed to hear that. No matter how many people don’t agree with that concept, that’s the way of living a creative life. Now I can move on with my creative endeavors with more meaning and happiness in my work rather than a focus on success. It just took a little convincing.
HistoryLover18 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book by Elizabeth Gilbert that I've read and I was not disappointed. I took so much away from this book and highly recommend it.
WanderingwithAshley More than 1 year ago
The best book I've ever read so far BESIDES Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth Gilbert forced me to be confident as an artist and let go of all the complaints within myself of not feeling good enough. She is truly a skilled writer and such an inspiration. This book will take you on a journey just as Eat, Pray, Love did. Only this time, the journey isn't Elizabeth's, its yours!
19269684 More than 1 year ago
 I have to admit, I was duped by this book.  I was expecting a fictional tale like Eat, Pray, Love, that would encourage me to always go for what I desired in life.  Instead I got an out and out, self-help book.  It's okay though... I liked it!      Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert is all about finding the inner-You!  It's about seeking what your heart truly longs for then hot to g about making it yours.  Broken down into six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity, you're equipped to, as she explains how to "bring forth the hidden treasure within you."  Nothing wrong with that, yeah?       What I love most is how she encourages you to not go about taking on loans to attend universities but to bravely explore on your own, making your experiences your teacher instead.  She also suggests you do what you want, regardless of what it may be, in order to be happy doing that thing instead of trying to be famous or rich.  Don't do it for money but for the love and experience of it all.   *Book provided by Shelf Awareness, for an honest review. For more on this review…. http://tinyurl.com/qxyskgu
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I devoured this book! I loved all of the magical, mystical insights into how creativity works, what squashes it and how to nurture it and be at peace with fear (let it come along for the ride but keep it out of the driver's seat!). Elizabeth says not to write a book "to help someone" but help me she did! A fun read and so practical too giving some old myths the heave-ho.
inspiredmartha More than 1 year ago
This is a quick, anecdotal, and generally inspirational read. The title is a bit troubling...I'm not sure why she goes with the "magic" theme when her approach to creativity is decidedly pragmatic. The idea of the book she never wrote wasn't so very "magical" to me considering it was based on an actual historical event, which many writers use for inspiration. But that's not really important. A lot of advice is given here; none of it particularly new; three especially good points, for example: 1. Think long and hard about getting that advanced degree unless you can pay for it (often it's a way for creatives to put off going about creating but the crippling debt may not be worth it) I would add to that: take classes offered by professionals to hone your skills and inspire you. Go to conferences and galleries and similarly network with other creatives. 2. Deny the "tortured artist" routine that in no way indicates creative brilliance. 3. Take the pressure off your creative practice and keep a day job. Her voice is conversational, sometimes overly so, and her approach to living with creativity sensible, illustrated with concrete personal and professional experiences. I was surprised at how short it was, but I do appreciate brevity. I think most creatives would appreciate the POV/inspiration offered by Gilbert.
HL6 More than 1 year ago
I've been looking forward to this book for a while, and must say it was worth the wait. Warm, engaging, clever and a bit eccentric—it's a great read. And, as if more was necessary, it's likely to improve the lives of creative people everywhere (which means, Gilbert says, all of us).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was easy to read and I found it uplifting.
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
I was not the target audience for this book, and while I can see how it might speak to other people, it did not speak to me. This book is part memoir and part self help. Primarily it's a pep talk to inspire those who would like to be leading a more creative life, whether that means writing or figure skating or painting or something else. Gilbert shares interesting stories to match her points, which did impress and occasionally entertain me. I did not find anything particularly profound in this book. The general message is to create because you love doing it and not to worry about what other people think. I do not struggle with fear when it comes to doing the things that interest me. In my early 20s I decided to stop caring what people think, and it was a very liberating decision. I did appreciate Gilbert's messages about not expecting your art to pay for your existence and not using your creativity as an excuse to be a horrible human being (i.e. a tortured artist). I think her message to young artists is good. Basically...don't quit your day job and don't complain about your art because no one is forcing you to be an artist. I found her concept of the mystical personification of the "idea" to be a little too out there for me. Listening to this book, read by Gilbert herself, I found the tone to be a bit preachy and condescending. Maybe I should have read the print version after all. I understand that this may seem ridiculous because this review is also a bit condescending, but this book just didn't work for me. The writing was good, and the message will speak to many others I know. But I should have passed on reading this book. http://www.momsradius.com/2016/02/book-review-big-magic.html
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Join here with me...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago