So I’m pretty certain this post is my first proper book review. I’ve mentioned books before and briefly given an overview in favourites posts but I’ve never focussed a post solely on one book before. I’m putting it out there now I will go into a bit of detail, but in theory because it’s not fiction there can’t really be any terrible spoilers.
You might have heard talk about Big Magic over the last couple of years, and rightly so. I first heard about it through word of mouth from other bloggers and YouTubers, it seems to be a bit of a bible to us online lot. It’s written by the bestselling author of Eat Pray Love, which I have still never read *gasp*, so I can see why it originally attracted so much attention. The book is essentially 300 pages about how to be your best creative self and do so without being scared of failing. Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing style is casual and very funny and I love all her little anecdotes, it’s also super easy to read because it’s broke up into short little sections per anecdote. The larger chapters are split up into the different stages of being creative and allowing yourself to share your creativity with the world. These chapters are; Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity.
What I like about this book is that Gilbert personifies creativity and ideas as if they have human emotions and choices. It’s a really good way of looking at it if you feel like you are stuck in a rut or struggling for ideas. She suggests that you don’t choose ideas, but they choose you and that is how the outlines of books, or blogs or any other form of artwork comes to us in brainwaves. She calls these ideas ‘Big Magic’, not all ideas are great, not all books or art are great but occasionally Big Magic will strike and it can be amazing and fully consume you. It might sound a little silly but I dare you to read it and not finish it with a different outlook on creativity. She is very pragmatic and realistic alongside being a big dreamer, she points out that not everybody will make it as a successful novelist or musician but that it would be a crime not to at least try.
I’ve not written a blog post in over a week but by the time I had finished Big Magic I was itching to get typing again. It gave me a new perspective on how important my blog is to me. When I don’t upkeep it, I miss it, and that tells me that I must carve out the time to stick with it. Blogging makes me happy and therefore it deserves the devotion that my Uni work and my job also receive from me. A rather funny but easy to remember suggestion is that you should have an affair with your creative outlet. Gilbert points out that people having affairs always find time to see the other person because they are passionate and excited, even if it means missing out on things, staying up late or getting up super early. People also make an effort to look nice and seem sexy and appealing to their partner, so therefore you should want to appeal to these ideas, or else why will they choose you over someone else? She says if you ‘seduce Big Magic it will always come back to you’. Essentially what she’s getting at is that if you really love what you do, whether it be writing, art, music etc. you’ll make sacrifices for it, like waking an hour early to do some painting or finish off a manuscript. You will get dressed ready to take on the day with a fresh mindset when you are stuck with writers block and haven’t changed out of your PJ’s for 3 days, in the hope that an idea will eventually chose you to bring it to life.
I love the fact that she draws on both her own success and failures, as I’m reading it as somebody about to enter the real world of work that’s pretty comforting. She does not proclaim to be the best writer in the world, she admits to getting lucky with Eat, Pray, Love and doesn’t assume to have that kind of success again without hard work and a lot of crap writing in-between. The other main point I took from the book was to ‘live without fear’ of being rejected or failing, whether that be in my blogging, applying for a job or just life in general, that is quite a comforting notion that it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t all work out first time.
I’d love to know if any of you have read Big Magic and if so what you thought of it? I don’t care if it sounds silly, I’m very much convinced that Big Magic came to me no sooner had I put this book down. Today I have written 3 blog posts, when I haven’t written anything for well over a week, I’ve even carried on when WordPress decided to time out my session and delete half of this blog post when I was one sentence off of finishing it! I’ve said many times before that I write when I feel inspired to do so, with both blogging and Uni work because otherwise I churn out utter rubbish most of the time, so I’m very much on board with what she’s saying.
So there you go, my first proper (ish) review, let me know what you think and if you would or wouldn’t want to see more over the next few months?