Elizabeth Gilbert delivers Big Magic

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an book written by Elizabeth Gilbert…

If you’re a writer — or want to become one — or a painter or a musician or, really, anything creative, I urge you to read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert as soon as possible.

I say this even though I wasn’t a huge fan of her international bestseller Eat, Pray, Love  — although I very much enjoyed her books Committed, and The Signature of All Things.

But, for me, Big Magic, really knocks it out of the park. Not only does she seem like such a friendly, generous person, she’s also a huge believer in the power of creativity. The subtitle of the book reveals more about what she’s thinking: Creative Living beyond Fear.

Gilbert believes we need six attributes in order to create: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity. Note that we don’t need these things from other people — we need to find them in ourselves.

Let me give you an example by sharing what she writes about courage:

I decided that I would need to build an expansive enough interior life that my fear and my creativity could peacefully coexist, since it appeared that they would always be together. In fact, it seemed to me that my fear and my creativity are basically conjoined twins — as evidenced by the fact that creativity cannot take a single step forward without fear marching right alongside. Fear and creativity shared a womb, they were born at the same time, and they still share some vital organs. This is why we have to be careful of how we handle or fear — because I’ve noticed that when people try to kill off their fear, they often end up inadvertently murdering their creativity in the process.

Isn’t that insightful? I found a Big Magic to be one of the most uplifting and inspiring books I’ve read in a long time. I highly recommend it