Big Magic – the book
Originally I planned on writing about something else but that can wait. I just finished reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and I have to share how much I loved it! Even though I’m not sure exactly what it was that makes me so enthusiastic about it, or find it hard to put into words. Let’s figure that out as I type.
I’ve known about this book for quite a while. Seen it pop up here and there and everywhere, again and again. But I felt… sceptical. I think it was the title that put me off. Yeah yeah, big magic, woohoo. Whatever. Sometimes I don’t judge a book by it’s cover but by it’s title. Too bad I did. Or maybe it wasn’t the right time for me until now. I think it was the timing. Now someone mentioned it again and I was like, ok let’s give it a go.
And am I glad I did.
I’ve been having a bit of an itch lately, about wanting to do things differently. Only I couldn’t quite reach it or scratch it. Just an annoying background feeling. And then the past week or so some things came together. I’m doing a course for Creative Business people and things are starting to click. The way I think about what I want to do, for whom, on what conditions, for what price, all that is changing. More looking towards me, instead of looking towards “them” and trying to guess what they want. Not finding all the answers yet, but definitely coming up with some good questions! And Big Magic fits right into this process.
I read a lot about things I quietly suspected or wondered about before, but as you might know, just thinking about stuff in your own head doesn’t always make it practical, applicable, usable. Reading this book helped me turn it all up a notch and be like “exactly! I agree! That’s how I want to do this!”. In tune with myself, no tormented artist stuff, no struggling and suffering to create. No need to pretend it’s more than it is, to give it all importance or meaning. Like she writes “It matters, and it doesn’t matter”.
For example, thanks to the art academy I always had this feeling it had to be about something, add something, in order to count (for what?!). Yet I’m finding I prefer to make simple, accessible, fun work. And that is just fine and has just as much a place as any other work made. I’m not the kind of person who makes elaborate studies and sketches and does piles of research. That doesn’t make my work any less. It’s just my creative process. And like she says, I don’t need permission. Nobody does. But reading this felt like a confirmation that helps finding my own creative life. I’m all over the place, I’m an optimist, I like what I do, I want to be happy doing this. Think in plenty, think big, think daring. Just think.
Another part I loved, was what she writes about how curiosity can get you further than passion. It was something I struggle with every now and then, after hearing a lot of “follow your passion” type advice. It seems to be the collective creative mantra online sometimes. But… I don’t really have the one passion. I’m interested in so much! I love to learn new things all the time. And it can all bring something to my creative table. And that’s wonderful. Reading this different view helped me give it a place in my own creative process. And this happened with a lot throughout the entire book.
She doesn’t tell you how to do this creative living thing. She offers you ways, suggestions, alternatives, to find your own way into this life. She makes you look at yourself, and ask some questions that might be hard to answer, but are totally worth it.
So if you got a little time to spare, give Big Magic a go. See what it can add to your creative table.
Have you read it? What do you think?