Books,  Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge Book 8 – Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

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8 books into this challenge, 32 more to go. Onto the next book review.


Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear, Book 8, 2016 Reading Challenge
Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear, Book 8, 2016 Reading Challenge

Given the apparent nature of this book I figured it would be best to read it towards the beginning of the year so that it would leave me with some kind of inspiration for the rest of the year. And you know what, I think it kind of did that.

I like to think of myself as quite a creative person, I mean I have this blog which seems like a pretty creative endeavour and tons of notebooks filled with my weird and ever evolving handwriting. Creativity is a thing I think I have and it’s also a thing that I have definitely struggled with since I started using it. So I was definitely interested to see the way that it would discussed throughout the pages of the book.

I haven’t read any of Gilbert’s other work (no, not even Eat, Pray, Love. I’ve seen it, and yet for some reason I have never deemed it necessary to actually read the book) so I didn’t quite know what to expect from her writing style and all that. I liked it. She writes in a quite a personable way and that made it easy to read. It was because of the way that it was written that you could see the passion with which Gilbert was writing with. The whole book was a practical piece of evidence about how when you write, you should just write for yourself and not for the unknown masses. In fact she even states that is what the intention for the book is. And I liked that. I think a part of me even needed to read something that was that way.

The way she talked about creativity was fascinating to read. She talked about it like it was an actual physical energy – something palpable but not tangible. And I totally understood it. It was like the thoughts in my head about creativity and ideas was finally put into words and I got it. The idea that you had to be open to creative ideas and patient with them is something that I can wholly relate to. Seriously there is an idea in my head that is still half formed (I am pretty sure I mentioned that the other day) and I am trying to be patient with it but I would really like a plot now. It’s really taking its time with that. And I have definitely had times where I’ve heard an idea and thought that I have had that exact same idea, but did nothing with it. Someone else did, and as Gilbert mentions many times throughout the book, it’s just not the right time for you (or me in this case).

I think the main reason I liked this book is because it was anecdotal and I didn’t go in expecting that. It was the anecdotes that sold the ideas that she was trying to get across. For example the story with the Amazon novel idea, something that started as her idea and then came into fruition in someone else’s novel gave a clear example of what she was talking about. It made it super easy to understand and kept me involved in this predominately personal book.

I also liked the way the sections that the book was split in to. The section titles made total sense in the grand scheme of creativity and what Gilbert was talking about. Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, Divinity all made sense. Like of course you need to ‘trust’ in it and remain ‘persistent’ and grateful and why the hell would you need permission to live your most creative life if that’s the way that you want to do. It all made sense. It was oddly refreshing.

It was nice to see how someone else viewed creativity (and as a result creative living) and the ways in which it was similar or different to the way that I view it. Largely speaking it was revealed to me that I was pretty similar, but I only discovered that because reading the book kind of made me address the way that I thought about it. This book also revealed to me new ways of thinking about things that I never would have even thought of if it weren’t for the beautifully eloquent way in which Gilbert spoke and explained them. There were also parts that challenged the way that I saw things and yet in doing that they made seem somehow clearer and gave something akin to clarity or something about this whole creative thing.

All in all I enjoyed reading this book and I didn’t necessarily think that I would because the idea of reading something that is a somewhat personal opinion on creative living and on paper it sounded like it really would not interest me in the slightest because it seemed like it would be…well personal. But it wasn’t. And that is almost completely down to Gilbert’s writing style – it made it a page turner even though it was non-fiction. When I finished it I had a new attitude to that crazy thing called creativity and basically I am gonna stop living in fear of writing shit and write it anyway then carry on with my life.

Would also definitely recommend giving it a read.

4/5 stars 

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