Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, introduces the idea of Big Magic in this kick up the ass styled as a self-help book. Revealing the essential truth of creating – that nobody else cares – she gives a not-too-gentle push in the right direction, asking you why you aren’t out there creating right this moment. Big Magic is full of beautiful, brave paradoxes, all of which need to be accepted in order for you to create freely.
Setting Yourself Free
The main message of Gilbert’s work is that in order to create, you must be free. Free from your own judgement and other peoples, free from perfectionism and fear and the heavy burden of significance. It’s certainly a bold approach towards creativity, but it’s also refreshing and surprisingly motivating. Repeatedly, Gilbert asks why shouldn’t you create? She presents situation after situation, all of them helping point you towards the conclusion that you can and should create.
Big Magic touches on Gilbert’s creative process and the ways she wrote some of her books, but she also references countless other creators, providing them as examples of the way the creative process might very for people but the important thing is being open and working hard. Those are certainly the two elements I found at the core of her book, and I came out of it feeling more ready to write than ever.
Why I recommend: Finding your Big Magic
It’s very easy to become disillusioned after graduating: life becomes about finding a job – and not always a job you want or like. Big Magic is a reminder to find something absolutely does not matter, but makes you happy. At the end of the day, sometimes you just need an outlet that is purely creative, and sometimes you need to remember that nobody cares what it is you’re creating. That might sound cruel but as Gilbert so bluntly puts it, nobody cares – but that is what allows you to create. As soon as you no longer measure the things you create by other people’s reactions but by the joy they bring you, you’ll be so much more open to creating.
The other helpful reminder in Big Magic is that nothing will happen without hardwork. Your door could be so open to new ideas that you don’t even have a door anymore, but if you sit there waiting for the idea to walk in and take action, you’ll never get anywhere. Remain open, but work hard. Gilbert emphasises that without working hard, creativity is never going to find you and certainly won’t stick around for long if it does. Big Magic is a two way street and it’s important that you work hard and remain open; sometimes these are difficult things to do when all you want is a job and no one is replying to your emails – but find a way to balance out your hard work in that department with a thorough love of creativity, in whatever form suits you best.
Written by Megan Corbett, Another English Student