Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic Book Cover Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert
Body, Mind & Spirit
Riverhead Books
September 22, 2015
Hardcover
288

This is an easy-to-digest book about the nature of inspiration. Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love uses her own experiences to show how she chose to face her fears in order to live a creative life. Her belief is that all of us are creative in some way—it’s up to us to figure out how to express it. She believes the best way is to stay curious and avoid needless suffering. In fact, she flat out rejects the idea of the “tortured artist” saying that it’s just an excuse for bad behavior—and I couldn’t agree more!

Her story about how Dr. Brene Brown, who gave one of the most viewed TED Talks in the world, was able to make the writing process work for her was fascinating. As an academician, Dr. Brown had written papers for years with little enjoyment. However she loved public speaking. Using Gilbert’s advice, she rounded up 3 friends and decamped to a beach house where she proceeded to speak her book to them while they took notes. After each “chapter” she’d take their notes, transcribe, and then read it back to the team. They would then probe and capture her answers. By using her preferred way of tapping into her creativity, she was able to more easily and powerfully express her ideas. And she and her friends had fun at the beach—and yes, she did pay her friends!

She doesn’t pussyfoot around the inevitable fear that shows up when you try to do anything creative. Her advice is to not worry about the outcome. It’s the “done is better than perfect” school of thought. She says that there’s beauty in just completing something. Her examples of when she chose to let stories out into the world that weren’t perfect because fixing them weren’t worth it were really instructive. It’s the process of creativity that is so rewarding, not the cash and prizes that few achieve.

This book will inspire you, give you “how to” ideas, and encourage you to live a more creative life.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.