Back at the start of the year, I wondered into Foyles and decided to pick up Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. This was for a couple of reasons. 1) It was a really nice hardcover and it was half price, who could resist. 2) I had known of Elizabeth Gilbert as she has a lengthy writing career and I hadn’t read anything by her. 3) It was a book about creativity and how to get your creative juices flowing. Because of this I thought Elizabeth Gilbert would be a great person to discuss being creative with as she has published 8 books,including the world famous Eat, Pray, Love; with Big Magic being her 9th.
Picture from Goodreads. Link for more info on the book is https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24453082-big-magic
I found this book to be a great and metaphorical creative kick up the arse. Elizabeth Gilbert has so much experience with writing, she was definitely a perfect fit to write this book. One thing I really liked about this book was that she’s not just inclusive to writing. It’s as if she’s talking to every single one of us who has a project in any form. A project that’s stuck in the back of our mind, waiting to get out but circumstances come into play and we can’t get this project out of our heads. And Elizabeth Gilbert uses her previously published work as examples.
She discusses loads of insecurities that people often have when it comes to creativity. She writes about feminism and how women have enormous amounts more pressure on them to succeed, more than men do. Like how the media loves to make women feel like they have to strive for perfection, this translates onto their projects. This is something I can definitely relate to. I really, really despise making mistakes/offending people/slipping up as a whole. And it doesn’t help that I often worry about everything a lot and, when I have bad days, I become nervous really easily. Some days I do manage to talk myself out of that mindset and once I do, shit gets done. And it’s such a relief when things are finished.
Elizabeth Gilbert also discusses balancing writing with a day job. Now this, I was really eager to read. I currently work on 35 hours a week. My job is an apprenticeship so I have to do coursework alongside as well as doing what my manager requires me to do. And sometimes at work I don’t have the time to do the coursework my apprenticeship place wants me to do.I look at this as a great thing because I really love my job. And so I have to find the time outside of work to do that work because of priorities. This also is why I sometimes disappear off my blog for a while. And is also why I still haven’t written my novel yet. But I do know that these things take time and I’ve really got to start learning how to balance work/social time/writing.
I don’t want to spoil the rest of this book and while I enjoyed it, I did have some problems with it. Sometimes I felt like analogies were overused and put in just to lengthen the book. And she comments negatively on learning subjects like writing at higher education, which I disagreed with. I didn’t go to university but each person is different and if some feel like they want to spend three years studying their chosen craft then they should do what feels right.
If you’re looking for a creative kick up the arse, then I would recommend checking this book out, no matter your form of creativity. I can’t wait to read more of Elizabeth Gilbert’s work.
Until next time,