A book that turned my views on creativity upside down!
Review- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
“True creativity lies in bravery- to keep working at your art in the sun without expectation of rewards”.
If I could sum up the book- “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert in one sentence, the above line almost sweeps away a home run!
I stumbled upon Elizabeth Gilbert as an author and a motivational speaker over a Ted Talk on youtube.com, and instantly struck a chord for her knowledge and anecdotal experiences about creativity. The talk has garnered over a million views and is considered among one of the inspiring Ted Talks of all time. The subject seems pretty close to her heart and without wasting any time, she directly got into the dissection of the process. Just to give you a brief peep into the author’s portfolio, she is New York’s bestselling author for her work in “Eat, Pray and Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia”.
Now, here’s the real deal- the book, as the title suggests, dissects the whole process of creativity from the point of view of an artist. Though, the book is written from a writer’s perspective in mind but, the advice can easily be imported to other professions pertaining to art- be it music, painting, dancing, etc. or any profession you are involved in.
It is a gripping account with a lucid narrative, wherein, the author professes- we all are born creative! You must be willing to put the hard work everyday, dress yourself for the occasion(your passion), follow a strict routine, scribble the words- for days, months or years- just to enter a zone where your art flows almost spontaneously and smoothly like a fall . Creativity, according to her isn’t a one day wonder but a habit- which, when practiced religiously hits on you one day and this is what according to Elizabeth is, “the big magic”.
The author shares an interesting story about her project-a novel with the plot revolving around Amazon forests. She briefly worked on it, but couldn’t continue thus, briefly aborting it. The proverbial ‘idea’ seemed to take offense and passed on to her friend like a spirit changing its favored body; who eventually completed the novel on the same plot. This isn’t a hunch but ideas need people who are diligent enough to execute them else, they find a different home where they can be put to task.
There are many stories about leading authors, artists and her friends who approached creativity from the purpose of just creating art for the joy of doing it in the book. They don’t create art in expectation of rewards but, show up everyday with their work to produce ‘the work of magic’. Elizabeth strongly puts forth the point that you shouldn’t quit your day job to pursue your passion. Not everybody is blessed enough to create art for a living and that’s ok. Work your way through your job and pursue your passion in your free time. This is the mantra for true life and fulfilling your creative potential.
In a nutshell, the book is written by somebody who has firsthand experience with creativity as her core, we may just put it that way. It’s not just limited to the artists. We all are artists in our professions or passions; inspiration only strikes when it sees us working. And, our true objective on earth is to harness our true creative potential.
The book is distributed among small chapters containing her narrative, past experiences and stories. The book is a must read for people of almost all background!