Bookreview: Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

The first book I read by Elizabeth Gilbert was Eat Pray Love (anyone surprised?) and I don’t like to admit it but it was love at first sight. Elizabeth has a way of writing as if she’s telling something to a good friend, while having tea on the couch together. She’s not afraid to open up and show her vulnerability, what makes that you easily feel connected to her. She could have been you and vice versa (probably one of the reasons she sols over a million copies). But no matter how much I loved Eat Pray Love, Big Magic left me a little confused.

Inspiration

The first two chapters – Courage & Enchantment – were very inspiring to me. I couldn’t stop reading and cought myself smiling multiple times. First of all because I realized my fears are boring, extremely boring even. Fear is nothing but a simple instinct that wants to keep you away from everything that’s either new or different. A predictable alarm, that goes off as soon as you step out of that comfort zone. Everybody has it. It’s not really creative, or unique, but you simply have it. So you might as well accept its signals and give it a place on the backseat of your car during the ride that called life. (which is way more effective than pretending you’re not scared!) However, don’t let your fear vote as soon as you need to take important decisions. It can ride along, you’ll hear its advises and worries, but you’re the one deciding which way to go.

Second of all, Elizabeth claims that ideas are everywhere. They float around in the sky, looking for people who can execute them. Inspiration hangs around us and is easy to grab, all you need to do is open yourself up to her ideas to be able to receive them. Feel them breathe them and don’t forget to take care of yourself! When you’re happy and healthy, so is your inspiration!

Action!

And then, when an idea ‘picks you’, grab it as fast as you can! Write it down, take action, do something! Cause ideas don’t patiently hang around waiting for you to finally embrace them as yours. If you don’t take them seriously or keep ignoring them, they will find someone else. An idea wants nothing more than to be executed, and is a lot less patient than you might think!

I find this to be super inspiring, because it means that you’re not the one finding inspiration, no, inspiration finds you! As long as you have faith and are open to suggestions from above, the right inspiration will come to you naturally, how wonderful is that?! This doesn’t mean however that you can just lean back and the ideas will come naturally, on the contrary! Consciouslt decide to take really good care of yourself, get enough sleep, eat healthy, and try to open yourself up to all inspiration that can catch you anytime, anywhere. Ask questions, meditate about your dreams, why do you want this? How can you achieve it? There is always an answer, and it might just be close than you think…

More action!

Chapter three – Permission – is about that you should never wait for permission or a good reason to express yourself creatively. Your creativity doesn’t necessarily need to save the world you know, the world can save itself, or not, it depends on how you look at it. The point is that you need to stop making up excuses to create something, whatever it is. There is only one reason that actually matters and that’s that it brings you joy when you’re creating something and you simply like the process of creative expression and growth, wether that’s in the form of painting, baking pies or figure skating, it doesn’t matter. If it makes you happy you should just go for it and make space in your agenda for that creativity.

Pretty obvious, right? I couldn’t agree more. However, in this chapter the fact that she uses so many words to explain something slowly started to annoy me. I’ve put the book aside many times, thinking ‘yeah I get the point now, please move on!‘ to, after that, have to wrestle myself through even more examples and endless anekdotes. What I loved so much about Eat Pray Love (her overly detailed way of storytelling) annoyed me big time in this book.

Unconditional love

In the last chapters – Persistence, Trust & Divinity – she continues this way of writing, with countless examples and extensive analyses. (Really, this book could have been half as thick!) Her point is obvious, and very interesting, but in my opinion also a bit too ambitious. She goes pretty far in her attempts to inspire and stimulate you. She, for example, compares creativity with a forbidden love, for whom the love is so strong that you’re willing to give up every free hour of the day and have a lack of sleep simply to be with that person. You simply will and have to see this lover. Now, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not overly in love with making my art, I simply like it a whole lot. Just to compare it: if I’m willing to give up sleep for every guy that I simply ‘liked’, I would become a very tired, and most of all sad woman. While reading this book, I felt like I miss passion because I’m not willing to spend every single day, no matter the circumstances, chasing my creative dream. Ehm hello?! I also have a life!

Go make your own fucking art.

What did impress me however, and what has been repeating in my head for a while now is the sentence above. It has everything to do with feeling free to do whatever you want, to create what you like, and if you love it it’s good enough. So if anyone has the guts to (without a good reason) criticize and question your creative expressions, don’t hesitate to tell them to go make their own fucking art. Something I should have realized many times in my life when someone told me my designs weren’t good enough, or unique enough, or not whatever enough…

Go make your own fucking art.

With love, Leonie.

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