Title: Big Magic
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Read it if: You’re not happy with the direction your creative journey is going
“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”
A couple years ago, I was in a creative slump. Everything I made felt “blah” and the drive I had to write or paint waned along with the winter sunlight. I talked to a friend about this, airing my woes, and she handed me her copy of Big Magic.
It was exactly what I needed. In it, Gilbert analyzes her own creative process in order to uncover the culture of comparison and self-limitation that sometimes comes with creating (be it painting, or writing, or making music, or anything else). What I took away from this book: persistence is important, but so is not putting weird limitations on yourself. If you want to, create. If you don’t, take a break. Don’t force it, and don’t compare your creative journey to others. And most importantly, let go of the fear surrounding not being “good” enough. Creating is about being free and doing something you love. Trust the process, and let it take you where it wants to.
Big Magic is important because it helped me break out of the pattern of needing to create for the sake of it/comparing my work to others. I no longer compare my creative journey to others’ because they have no impact on me (other than to serve as inspiration). Following their path would be like driving behind someone on the highway and taking the same exits as them – you might get where they’re going, or you might get lost along the way and end up somewhere you never wanted to be.