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Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Big Magic

The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. The book gave me a wonderful introduction to the world of creativity and gave me insights into the creative process. What is creativity? Where does it come from? How does it manifest itself and what to do with it? How to persist and reasons for persevering with the creative process.

  2. The books through anecdotes and examples and stories weaves into it the philosophy behind creativity and devises a five step process or elements to being creative. Courage→Enchantment→Permission→Persistence→Trust

  3. Each step has several ways to dabble in the creative endeavour and details what does each element means and the strategies and mechanisms to incorporate and address each element of the creative process

🎨 Impressions

The book was a very light and refreshing read for me personally as I haven’t read much on the topic of creativity prior to this. It gave me a lot of ideas and inspiration to persevere in my creative endeavour by giving me tools to address each step of the creative process.

Who Should Read It?

I think it should be read by people who are in a creative field or are planning to pick something like an art form or a creative project and draw inspiration from the book to persist in their chosen piece of work.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

💡 It gave me an insight into the world of the artist and made me realise that creativity is a skill that can be cultivated and it gave me tools and tips to be creative in whatever work i chose to dabble in

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

Creativity is a path for the brave, yes, but it is not a path for the fearless, and it’s important to recognise the distinction. Bravery means doing something scary. Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means.
I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us—albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.
if you can pause and identify even one tiny speck of interest in something, then curiosity will ask you to turn your head a quarter of an inch and look at the thing a wee bit closer. Do it. It’s a clue. It might seem like nothing, but it’s a clue. Follow that clue. Trust it. See where curiosity will lead you next. Then follow the next clue, and the next, and the next.

📒 Summary + Notes

  1. According to the author life is a labyrinth where an end could be a beginning or there could be multiple paths to reach a particular point. She says that the universe has hidden deep jewels within us and the hunt that we must embark on to uncover those hidden jewels is called creative living. The result of that hunt is what is called ‘Big Magic’

  2. Elements of Creativity - Courage, enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust.

  3. Courage. Fear is boring in the sense that it manifests in the same way every day. There is no variety to it. It never changes or isn’t able to spark any interest or delight. Once we understand the true nature of fear we don’t need to be afraid anymore. We must cultivate the courage to embark on creative journey by making space for fear. Courage is not fearlessness i.e the absence of fear but rather living alongside fear by making space for it to exist but never let it take the driving seat.

  4. Enchantment.

    1. How ideas work ?- As per Gilbert, the universe is inhabited not just by humans ,animals but also ideas. These ideas are conscious and have a will be manifested by collaborating with a human. These ideas come in the form of an inspiration and if they are not tapped into they fade away and look for another human for manifestation.

    2. There are different ways in which you can say yes to an idea - either you can suffer through while the idea manifests itself with your collaboration or you collaborate joyfully, willingly by co-operating fully.

    3. The same idea can be discovered by multiple people at the same time. This is called multiple discovery

    4. An idea can either be manifested like it was within you effortlessly. It might make you feel like it is calling at you and it can be at very odd times. You need to capture it then and there otherwise it might be elusive. Or it can be manifested by feeling like someone is guiding you though all along. When you look back what you have created you might feel like it was someone else all along.

  5. Permission. You don’t need anyone’s permission to live creatively. Why do you seek permission? You are entitled to live a life the way you want. You have the right to assert yourself just because you are born and alive.

    1. The creative endeavour should not be to help others but to help one’s own self. It’s also okay to not have any motive whatsoever.

    2. Gilbert argues that you don’t need advanced degree to be creative. As most advanced degrees in America implies huge debts and expenses.

    3. Art/Creativity doesn’t need to serve a purpose or be useful for being meaningful

    4. The paradox of creativity is that we need to make art as the most important thing that we do but at the same time it shouldn’t matter to us way too much. Make space in your life for this paradox to happily exist.

  6. Persistence.

    1. There is no age limit when you can make a start at something. As long as you stick around the different phases (frustration and disappointment) of the creative process you are fine. You are learning.

    2. Creativity shouldn’t be expected to pay your bills and moments of inspiration should be allowed to come freely not in a sort of a burden to pay your bills.

    3. There is never going to be enough time and resources to make art possible but one needs to take that time out and work on their creative pursuits.

    4. Fall in love with your creativity and you will find/make time for it.

    5. Make your self look presentable to attract and invite creativity.

    6. Perfection is the enemy of the good. Don’t hold yourself back because one is not perfect. Embrace imperfections.

    7. No ones thinking about you so go pursue whatever interests you .

    8. Uncertainty is part of living the creative lives. Keep trying and working towards your whatever it is that brings you joy

  7. Trust.

    1. We are co-creators of life and we collaborate with mother nature to create life through reciprocation of its services

    2. Creativity isn’t born out of chaos and pain as most creative people think that they need to be miserable to produce art.

    3. Gilbert argues that you need to trust love over suffering to be artistic. She doesn’t buy the idea of the ‘tormented artist’ and sees it as emotionally warping.

    4. Take the creative process with a light-heartedness and do not treat it as your baby.

    5. Passion Vs Curiosity : When you not feeling inspired or passionate about creativity then being curious is the antidote. Find clues to whatever interests you and creativity will find you eventually

    6. Don’t quit too soon as the process starts to become interesting once you get the hang of it.

    7. Ego and the soul : Ego demands rewards and satisfaction which is always elusive and there is no ending to it while soul desires ‘wonder’ and when we take refuge in the soul our ego remains silent or under control.

    8. Move on. Don’t dwell on disappointments. Keep busy and occupied. if one mental channel is blocked then figure out other artistic ways to open up another mental channel.

    9. Show your work without thinking about what the outcome is going to be. You have to have fierce trust in the creative process and should not piggyback it on the outcome that one wants from it.

    10. Don’e be ashamed of your work. Enjoy the process and let go of the outcome


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