What I learned from Big Magic

If  you have not yet heard of Big Magic, you have probably seen it, it is currently one of the most instragram-ed and blogged about books this year.  Created by Liz Gilbert who is known for her New York Times bestselling memoir Eat Pray love, ‘Big Magic creative living beyond your fear’ is what I would class as a ‘self-help’/ ‘self-development’ book that I had heard really big things about.

I dived into this book readily excited about what I could possibly learn from it and how it had the potential to change my way of thinking, and because of this, I was not disappointed. It did question things for me, it encouraged me, it inspired me, it gave me the confidence to do things I used to shy away from.  Was it ground-breaking or profound? Well no not really, nonetheless it did stir up things inside me that no other book had done before.

I really recommend Big Magic to any of you wanting to take a risk or do something you are slightly afraid of.  Although I have to say for a book that had been created by a bestselling author I thought there were a few too many holes, I don’t think it flowed that well, it felt padded out unnecessarily and I also felt there were a lot of moments where the author contradicted points, however, it had by the end of it made me look at things differently which is exactly the outcome I wanted when I picked up this book. So I put together lessons I learned from reading the Big Magic.

  1. Fear is boring but you don’t need to be fearless just be brave. I loved this chapter as a shy wimpy child, teenager and a grown adult who still won’t go on any rides at theme parks I needed this chapter in my life. You don’t need to be fearless as Liz states ‘bravery means doing something scary, fearless means not even understanding what the word scary means’. She continues to explain its ok to be scared but it’s boring and nothing you do is going to result in the end of the world. This chapter gave me this burst of courage that I have not been able to conjure up before.
  2. Ideas find you – This actually reminded me of a story Liz told in her first Ted Talk about a poet called Ruth Stone who said she could hear and feel when a poem was on its way to her and if she didn’t act quickly enough it would pass her and find another poet, and weirdly in Noel Gallagher’s Desert Island Disc podcast. When he said “I still believe there is somebody up there and they are just dropping songs, and if I’m not ready to catch them, Chris Martin is getting them and Bono is getting them.” and since then I have noticed this idea cropping up with a host of successful artist from various industries. As someone who strongly believes in the law of attraction and that positive things find you when you ask for them, I can really relate to what Elizabeth is suggesting. She goes on to say that ideas are all floating around the universe waiting for the right time and person to plant itself in, for many this may seem a bit farfetched and Philosophical but I love it. There have been so many times where an idea has just popped into my head from nowhere.
  3. You don’t have to act on every idea or at least not straight the way – At work my colleague and I have an invention book for those moments above where ideas just come to us, most of them are just for comical value but every so often I come up with something that I really think could turn into something but I am in no position to do anything with it. Whether this is due to time, money or just not enough experience and I have to leave it sitting in my little book, but I have learned that this is ok! You don’t need to act on every idea straight the way, some ideas you won’t act on at all and that doesn’t matter.
  4. You don’t need a degree in every subject to do well in it – This is something I had been thinking about for a long time before I read Big Magic but it was reassuring to hear it from someone who has achieved global success. My mum has always been a big advocate for degrees adamant that I wouldn’t get anywhere in life without a degree so I went off to University and had the time of my life but since leaving I have learned so much about different things, been part of different industries and learned new skills. I didn’t need to pay ridiculously high fees for these, I got into blogging because it interested me, I have always loved writing and always worried that I shouldn’t be doing it because I didn’t go to a renowned University to study English and my spelling is pretty awful but it doesn’t mean I can’t do it.  You learn all time, from so many different people, the amount I have learned from googling and online courses has probably helped me progress more in my life and career than my degree ever will (sorry Mum!).
  5. Amazing teachers are everywhere This rolls on from the last lesson but I think it has its own relevant place, relating back to me (of course) I really didn’t know anything about blogging when I started this, I won’t go into things but from my first site to now a year later things have massively changed. These are all things I have picked up on the way, questions I have quizzed my sisters with, Youtube tutorials, other bloggers, and of course google I have studied blogging like I would revise for an exam.  Due to these resources, I have taught myself a completely new skill which involved no professor, no night school, no paid courses. I think this is so important for anyone wanting to embark on a creative venture that you don’t need expensive teachers you just need passion and the will to want to learn.
  6. Embrace failure – Liz’s open honesty about rejection and failure was so refreshing.  In modern society where social media is peppered with constant success, beauty and recent designer purchases, it was refreshing and reassuring to hear that no one is that perfect, you will be rejected, you will fail at things but it doesn’t matter no one cares. Just pick yourself up dust yourself off and keep going. I loved the part of the book when she started to compete with rejection letters on which could be the best rejection letter she received.  It happens to us all and since reading this I have been a lot more confident just putting myself out there.
  7. Learn how to forgive yourself– With failure comes that self hate and guilt, the voices in my head that say I should have done this, I should not have done that, if only I knew or said this, if I let them these could continue into days of fear but Liz emphasises on learning how to forgive yourself with some humorous examples of people’s failures and how they have picked themselves up were so encouraging and relatable. I fail at things all the time, from going on dates and wishing I’d stayed in on my own with a pizza, to silly mistakes at interviews and forgetting to add important points in exams and so on. But I am still here and I love my life and I am happy with the direction it is going. Life is just a constant trial and error, so laugh it off, learn from it and move on.
  8. Don’t complain- no one owes  you anything – This may have been your chosen career path, you’re maybe more creative than your friend with more natural talent than anyone you know (this is not about me I have very little natural talent in anything at all, unless we are talking about eating peanut butter) but the industry your in, your friends, family or Universe owe you nothing. Complaining will get you nowhere, you either persevere and keep going or give up your dream to lead a simpler stress-free life, they are your choices.
  9. It is never too late -There was a part of the book where Liz told of a lady who was in her 90s and had found a new passion in life. I have been so hung up on having the career I chose and defining my own success by benchmark ages that I always assumed I just had to stick to what I know. But it’s never too late if you want to be the next Zoella for instance then go for it, you have as much chance as she did to make a success of things. You are never too old to make a change or start again.
  10. People do not think of you, AT ALL – At first, this made me feel slightly nervy, it’s a big old world and I was being told no one even thought about me. But it’s so true, everyone is busy living their own lives doing their own thing, they are not thinking about you or waiting for you to mess up and fail! And really if there is anyone watching you that closely then take it as a compliment you clearly have something they want.

Despite any minor criticism I gave the book, I am wholeheartedly an enormous fan of Elizabeth Gilbert and her work. She is so passionate about what she loves and shares a strong belief in the Universe delivering what you attract into your life and if after this I haven’t encouraged you to pick up this or any of her books than I would strongly recommend checking out her podcast here or here two Ted Talks here.

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