Learnings from Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Learnings from Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear is one of the best books I’ve ever read about creativity. Gilbert is renowned for her captivating and relatable fiction stories, such as Eat, Pray, Love, but Big Magic showcases her deep understanding of the creative process. These are some of the messages that resonated most for me, which I hope will inspire you to read this sensational piece of work.

  1. Follow your dreams.

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”

2. Success or failure are irrelevant

“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”

3. Aim for authenticity, not originality

“Anyhow, the older I get, the less impressed I become with originality. These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.”

4. Keep practicing

“It’s a simple and generous rule of life that whatever you practice, you will improve at.”

5. Perfectionism is a form of fear

“Perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat.”

6. Nobody thinks about you as much as you think they do

“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.”

7. We’re all creative creatures

“If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.”

8. Nurture your curiosity

“living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

9. Give your mind a productive job to do, otherwise it will find an unproductive one

“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. Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents (eating the couch, digging a hole through the living room floor, biting the mailman, etc.). It has taken me years to learn this, but it does seem to be the case that if I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something (myself, a relationship, or my own peace of mind).”

10. What do you answer to?

“It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.”

11. Failure is a test

“failure has a function. It asks you whether you really want to go on making things.”

12. Make the most of the time you have

“your life is short and rare and amazing and miraculous, and you want to do really interesting things and make really interesting things while you’re still here.”