BOOK CLUB: BIG MAGIC

As one of my first books finished within the year, this was a lovely read to regenerate and dive deeper into the art of creativity. I recommend this to any creative individual looking to seek more from their creative art or is hesitant about living a creative life. Elizabeth Gilbert does an incredible job portraying her own journey with creative living and through her experiences she inspires other creatives to find their Big Magic.

My honest review: Great book for a light read. The first half is filled with many inspirational ideas about a creative life, but the second half then transitions into more stories of her life experiences which I felt weren’t as inspirational or provoked critical thought. Overall really enjoyed the read and would recommend to anyone just starting their creative lifestyle.

Favorite Quotes:

“He smiled at the girl with infinite compassion and asked, ‘Do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.'” – pg. 7

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” – pg. 8

“I’m talking about a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” – pg. 9

“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.” – pg. 23

“The idea will wake you up in the middle of the night and distract you from your everyday routine. The idea will not leave you alone until it has your fullest attention.” – pg. 36

“You can clear out whatever obstacles are preventing you from living your most creative life, with the simple understanding that whatever is bad for you is probably also bad for your work.” – pg. 40

“You can support other people in their creative efforts, acknowledging the truth that there’s plenty of room for everyone.” – pg. 41

“If inspiration is allowed to unexpectedly enter you, it is also allowed to unexpectedly exit you.” – pg. 48

“…let your old idea go and catch the next idea that comes around.” – pg. 48

“Follow your curiosity.” – pg. 49

“Don’t fret about the irrationality and unpredictability of all this strangeness. Give in to it. Such is the bizarre, unearthly contract of creative living.” – pg. 63

“Work with all your heart, because–I promise–if you show up for your work day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.” – pg. 63

“It’s the feeling you get when you’ve made something wonderful, or done something wonderful, and when you look back at it later, all you can say is: ‘I don’t even know where that came from.'” – pg. 66

“I work steadily, and I always thank the process.” – pg. 75

“When my father grew curious about things, he pursued them. He had solid faith in his own capabilities.” – pg. 83

“She smiled sweetly at everyone and always acted like a total cooperator–but then she shaped her own world exactly to her liking while nobody was looking.” – pg. 85

“You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.” – pg. 86

“Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants to lead you.” – pg. 88

“I also what to live the most vividly decorated temporary life that I can. I don’t just mean physically; I mean emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. I don’t want to be afraid of bright colors, or new sounds, or big love, or risky decisions, or strange experiences, or weird endeavors, or sudden changes, or even failure.” – pg. 91

“…push yourself out of the suffocating insulation of personal safety and into the frontiers of the beautiful and the unexpected.” – pg. 93

“I don’t yet know exactly what I am, but I’m curious enough to go find out!” – pg. 94

“I will never stop creating, no matter what the outcome, and no matter how deep my anxieties and insecurities may be.” – pg. 95

“But once you put your own expression and passion behind an idea, that idea becomes yours.” – pg. 97

“Just say what you want to say, then, and say it with all your heart.” – pg. 98

“But at the end of the day, I do what I don because I like doing it.” – pg. 100

“There is no love which does not become help…” – pg. 101

“But if you’re working on your craft everyday on your own, with steady discipline and love, then you are already for real as a creator, and you don’t need to pay anybody to affirm that for you.” – pg. 103

“If you are a young person, open your eyes wide and let the world educate you to the fullest extent.” – pg. 107

“No matter how great your teachers may be, and no matter how esteemed your academy’s reputation, eventually you will have to do the work by yourself.” – pg. 110

“I would work every shift, save all my money, and then go off traveling for a while to learn things.” – pg. 110

“The rewards had to come from the joy of puzzling out the work itself, and from the private awareness I held that I had chosen a devotional path and I was being true to it.” – pg. 113

“…everybody imitates before they can innovate.” – pg. 142

“…whatever you practice, you will improve at.” – pg. 143

“If you devote yourself to anything diligently for ten years, that will make you an expert.” – pg. 145

“Frustration is not an interruption of your process; frustration is the process.” – pg. 149

“Financial demands can put so much pressure on the delicacies and vagaries of inspiration.” – pg. 153

“Most individuals have never had enough time, and they’ve never had enough resources, and they’ve never had enough support or patronage or reward…and yet still they persist in creating.” – pg. 158

“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust–and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.” – pg. 158

“Why do people persist in creating, even when it’s difficult and inconvenient and often financially unrewarding? They persist because they are in love.” – pg. 160

“Let yourself fall in love with your creativity.” – pg. 161

“The most evil trick about perfectionism, though, is that it disguises itself as virtue.” – pg. 167

“Perfectionism is nothing more than a deep existential angst that says, again and again, ‘I am not good enough and I will never be good enough.'” – pg. 167

“Through the mere act of creating something–anything–you might inadvertently produce work that is magnificent, eternal, or important.” – pg. 171

“Perhaps creativity’s greatest mercy is this: By completely absorbing our attention for a short and magical spell, it can relieve us temporarily from the dreadful burden of being who we are.” – pg. 172

“We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth–nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.” – pg. 174

“Go be whomever you want to be, then. Do whatever you want to do. Pursue whatever fascinates you and brings you to life. Create whatever you want to create–and let it be stupendously imperfect, because it’s exceedingly likely that nobody will even notice. And that’s awesome.” – pg. 175

“Because this is how it feels to lead the faithful creative life: You try and try and try, and nothing works. But you keep trying, and you keep seeking, and then sometimes, in the least expected place and time, it finally happens. You make the connection. Out of nowhere, it all comes together.” – pg. 195

“The feelings of desperation and unhappiness are more useful to an artist than the feeling of contentment, because desperation and unhappiness stretch your whole sensibility.” – pg. 206

“Far too many creative people have been taught to distrust pleasure and to put their faith in struggle alone.” – pg. 209

“I believe that our creativity grows like sidewalk weeds out of the cracks between our pathologies–not from the pathologies themselves.” – pg. 211

“The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.” – pg. 221

“What your produce is not necessarily always sacred, I realized, just because you think it’s sacred. What is sacred is the time that you spend working on the project, and what that time does to expand your imagination, and what that expanded imagination does to transform your life. The more lightly you can pass that time, the brighter your existence becomes.” – pg. 232

“Don’t rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you.” – pg. 247

“I know that I am not only an ego; I a also a soul.” – pg. 249

“Whatever you do, try not to dwell too long on your failures. You don’t need to conduct autopsies on your disasters. You don’t need to know what anything means. Remember: The gods of creativity are not obliged to explain anything to us. Own your disappointment, acknowledge it for what it is, and move on.” – pg. 252

“And any motion whatsoever beats inertia, because inspiration will always be drawn to motion.” – pg. 254

“Failure has a function. It asks you whether you really want to go on making things.” – pg. 256

“You are worthy, dear one, regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don’t understand the outcome.” – pg. 258

Letter to Myself: Dearest Pamela, I hope you’ve allowed yourself to open up to creativity in more ways than one. I hope you’ve opened your heart to the art of creative living and have explored the creative jewels in yourself. I hope that you’ve used this reading as a stepping stool for your own creative journey and as validation to pursue your own creative lifestyle with passion and trust. Trust in yourself. You are capable of so much good in life.

Love J.J.

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2 Comments

  1. I haven’t heard of this book before. Is it published in international? I’ll definitely look for it in my local book store. I’m a bookworm, too.
    Btw, found you on IG and I love your travel gallery. I’m a new fan.

    1. Aw, thanks so much Heide! I found this book in South Africa, so they should have it internationally. 🙂

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