Anyone in need of some morale boosting or an injection of self-confidence and motivation should immediately pick up and read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear. The fact I enjoyed this book so much is made more significant by the fact I hated her earlier Eat, Pray, Love which I found to be elitist and rather boring. I never even finished it. She really struck a chord in this book, however, with her words of encouragement, relevant anecdotes and sound advice. My own personal passion is blogging, despite the fact I get little to no feedback from my readers and at times I’m tempted to pack it in. But as Gilbert reminded me, it’s what I like to do whether anyone else likes my blog or not and that’s what keeps me going.
Gilbert shares the wisdom she picked up through working at various odd jobs to support her writing and her final success as a writer. While the message is aimed at creative types, the philosophy is easily transferable. Reading through Big Magic I came away with some solid advice worth sharing:
- Do not expect to make a living at doing something you love. If it happens, you’re one of the lucky ones. Most of us have to maintain “day jobs” to support our passion.
- Rejection of your creation (writing, art, music, crafts, whatever) by others does not mean your work is not valid and meaningful. The fact that you loved doing it is what is important.
- Perseverance is not just a cliché. Remember all the rejection letters famous writers like J.K.Rowling got before being recognized. No one will advocate for your work better than you. And persevere in practising your craft. That’s how we get better.
- While we all need some idle time to clear our minds and recharge our batteries, prolonged idleness is a recipe for negative behaviours.
There’s so much more great advice in this book with many personal anecdotes to explain how Gilbert acquired this wisdom. She acknowledges that it’s a myth to believe, “All you need to do is to follow your passion, and everything will be fine.” That’s naive and misleading. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy following your passion. Just don’t bet the farm on making a living at it. Enjoy it for what it fulfills in you and appreciate that. The book was a bit slow at the beginning but it soon gained traction and my multiple book marks attest to its merit. I highly recommend “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. You’ll feel uplifted and encouraged and that’s enough to make any book worthwhile reading.
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