Review of ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert

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By the time February arrives, my sense of winter wonder has usually waned and all the optimism and enthusiasm I felt about the new year has faded as I hit the winter doldrums, which makes it seem like the ideal time to read a book about overcoming blocks and kick-starting creativity.

Big Magic is not a how-to-write book, instead Elizabeth Gilbert takes a more holistic view of creativity that stretches from writing to ice-skating and everything in between. Autobiographical in places, Elizabeth is passionate about creativity and eager to share her knowledge and experience to inspire others.

I could relate to many of the anxieties and blocks that inhibit creativity covered in this book, some of which were the same reasons I delayed starting my blog for so long after conceiving the idea in January last year. Big Magic is full of advice and encouragement on how to overcome the self-doubt and fears in your mind, as well as the disparaging voices of everyone else who tries to dissuade you from living creatively.

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I really admire Elizabeth’s dedication to writing and her gritty determination to keep writing no matter what, both as a relatively unknown novelist before the success of Eat Pray Love and afterwards when the weight of public expectation was at its greatest. Elizabeth believes it’s a privilege to be able to earn a living from her creativity, yet it’s clear that she’s not doing it for the money or fame but simply because she loves to write.

Like many before her, she asserts that practice and habit are more faithful companions to creativity than inspiration. She debunks the myth of the tortured, struggling artist as dangerous, and I found her belief that ideas are alive in the air and searching for people to bring them to fruition delightful.

Big Magic is a humorous, honest and inspiring book that I’d recommend to anyone who would like to overcome the blocks holding them back and embrace their creativity, and it’s a book that I’ll reread at times when I need to reignite my own creativity.

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