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

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 3.05.33 PMElizabeth Gilbert’s books somehow find their way to me right when I need them the most. Her latest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear gave me the inspiration and push I so desperately needed. Now working full-time as a marketer as well as blogging on the side, there are times when my level of creativity runs low. But Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear provided me with strength and acted as a constant reminder as to why I continue to be a creator. Her level of wit and fluidity in her writing continues to entertain and provide me with a sense of calmness, comfort and self-affirmation that doesn’t happen often.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear takes us through the depths of her creative process, giving readers a glimpse as to what it means to live a creative life and what it takes to fully live one. With complete honesty, Gilbert holds nothing back and gives forth a book to her readers that is inspiring, truth-telling and candid.

Gilbert begins her book by discussing the emotion and essence of fear. She explains how we can’t run away from fear. The unique set of fears that each individual possesses have a way of staying with us forever. But we shouldn’t let them destroy us or direct where our lives are headed. She goes on by reminding her readers that  creativity should always lead the way despite the upcoming obstacles that are sure to show up. Even though fear will always be there, it should never limit us from reaching our full potential.

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” (pg. 8)

A question that holds so much truth and power, Gilbert explores the idea of reaching our full potential. She states that we must live a life through curiosity and not fear. The notion of ideas come to those who are open to receiving them. She claims that ideas choose their owner and they come to you if you’re willing, open and lucky. A hard, honest lesson to live by and remember as you write, make and create. I constantly remind myself that you can never force creativity to happen – it just does.

“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” (pg. 41)

Despite best sellers and even projects that didn’t get past the writer’s table, there’s something to be said about everyone’s  creative journey. Taking her words to heart, it made me examine what I define as a success. Though every project I take on in life may not go viral or become a huge success story, as long as I’m proud of my work and I’m happy, that’s really all that matters. Gilbert explores the idea of how dedicated you have to be to live a life filled with creativity. So, no. The creative life isn’t always going to be glamorous but when creativity seems bleak, that is when your true passion and dedication is tested.

“Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding. Because that moment? That’s the moment when interesting begins.” (pg. 247)

Don’t give up. Creativity may look fun all of the time in an outsider’s perspective, but it isn’t until you eat and breathe it that you notice the ebb and flows. Living a creative life will have its ups and downs, but Gilbert drives a key point home – if you’re really passionate about your craft then you’re going to give it your all, no matter whatever obstacles come your way.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear is not a self-help book. It’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s open letter to her readers, filled with so much honesty, wit and humor of what it takes to live a creative life. Elizabeth’s way of storytelling is not only engaging but thought-provoking. Big Magic is a book for all types of creators who need that spark of inspiration or that fire to be lit from under them. Her writing causes you to reflect on your creative journey and reminds you to stay hungry, dedicated and passionate despite the odds.

Rating: 9/10

Camille lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will most likely find her wandering around local bookstores, going to a concert or enjoying the sights of the city by the bay. This Captain America fangirl enjoys attending book events, re-watching her favorite Disney movies and obsessing over the latest entertainment news. You can find her on Twitter @itscamille_ann.