Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The magic of Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic

Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: the case for putting creative minds to work

Whether you loved it or loathed it, it was hard to avoid Elizabeth Gilbert's best-seller, Eat Pray Love, a few years back. I thought it was a great read - inspiring, well-written and elegantly structured - but for some reason I never got round to reading any of Gilbert's other books.

Until this week. I picked up Big Magic in the library and haven't been able to put it down. Sub-titled 'Creative Living Beyond Fear,' it might sound a little ponderous but isn't at all. In it Gilbert shares wisdom, wit and great insights into the creative process, shattering the myth that misery and creativity go hand in hand.

It's a light, easy read that is insightful, entertaining and at times made me laugh out loud. Divided into six sections (on Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity), there are tips and advice for us all in here. Yes, there's a wealth of understanding that creative types may find liberating, but there's also much that will appeal to anyone with a heartbeat.

It's hard to pick a favourite quote, but fellow dog lovers may enjoy this:
"Possessing a creative mind, after all, is something like having a border collie for a pet: It needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble."
Big Magic is definitely a book for makers and creators, but should also be required reading for anyone who has ever doubted their own ability, lacked the confidence to follow their dreams or simply cared too much what other people thought. Probably most of us then.

Have you read Big Magic? What did you think?  And do you have a favourite self-help book?