Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Reviews

Being creative is like playing hide-and-seek. She runs in every direction, I chase her, with all my speed and my strength. She stops, looks at me an laughs. She disappears. I run again, this time determined to catch her, I find her, and I touch her, yes, I think I just touched her, but when I try to grab her from her muscular arm she scapes and runs again, laughing at me, once again.

And between one and a thousand times chasing her this book fell into my hands. I did not know it was about creativity. I chose it because the author was Elizabeth Gilbert and because I liked its title.  I bought it without knowing what was it about, and I got a huge surprise, because just when I opened it I had a revelation. Finally someone with authority confirmed me that the elusive creativity was not that elusive after all. During my whole life, when someone asked me about her I always said: No, I am a lawyer and nothing else, crafts? Painting? Even writing? No way. Now good luck transfiguring and talking to myself out of this statement. How hard it has been explaining myself that every silly thing that exists in my mind is not a universal law.

And therefore Elizabeth Gilbert talks in this book about courage, that is not another thing than to be brave and have the strength to open our hands widely and show all of the things that have come out of our minds and have become pure and shiny substance. She asks us: Would you have the courage to show it to the world?

The author talks to every one of the creative minds out there, but her being a writer makes a lot of references to this type of art. To write, she says, the motivation cannot be victory, but a real and true passion for what you want to do. Writing only for ourselves is the only way to stablish a bridge between reality and what is magical. There is no point in forcing the inspiration. She will come and go as she pleases. But when she arrives is better to be ready with a pen and a paper. When we write for ourselves the universe takes charge of the rest.

I liked her point about originality. Because it is a question I was myself constantly. How can I do to invent something new if everything already exists? But to Elizabeth Gilbert this should not be the focus of the question, but better what to do to be authentic. There should be no effort put in create something new (at least not by forcing it), but the real authenticity is to present something that might already exists with a magical touch of authenticity that comes from the mind and the heart of its own author. Authenticity is a finger print that would never be copied. The ideas of every one are unlimited, infinite, they come and go yes, but if there is any intention they will always surround you.

And another revelation. The author lets out that writing is one of the cheapest and more private affairs. To write one simple has to … write! Paying for courses, going to University, getting a debt, only to get validation from others is a waste of time and money. There is not a writer who has not received a letter of rejection. She puts them all in a drawer and without thinking it twice, she keeps writing.

Do not try to live from your creativity, at least not at the beginning. To relate invention and money scares inspiration away. It is better to work in any other thing and let all those down times to create, enjoying the process.

Persistence. The worse flaws on a writer are procrastination and perfectionism. The author doesn’t say it but I infer that both flows lie in fear. What she does say is that if nobody publishes you it is not important. Because you are being educated, you are and will be always winning something from your creation, that is for you and only for you.

The conventional success depends on three factors: Talent, good luck and discipline. Elizabeth Gilbert truly confirms that the only one of those factors that we can control is discipline, and she encourages us to get to work.

And if we follow all the steps The Big Magic is what happens at the end. Maybe when we are about to give up once again. She will come when least expected.

A 100% recommended book, especially for those that want to fill their creative souls with hope and illusion for the future.


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