Creative Lessons From Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’

As I am one of the only few to admit it, I was a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best selling memoir, ‘Eat Pray Love’. I was gripped by her dedicated search to find out who she was, spanning the globe to indulge in food, find inner peace and fall in love once more. Having become deeply attached to her writing style and the ability to relate to her experiences, I knew I had to stay true to this talented author.

The book could not have presented itself at a more pressing time in my life. With the creative struggle very real and my frustration growing daily, I needed a perspective change fast.

Here is what I learnt.

Creative Living Is A Path For The Brave

Fear holds every one back in one way or another. There are many excuses we offer up to fear, many we say or hear time and time again, stuck on repeat like a broken record.  We may feel like our ideas aren’t good enough, that they have already been done or that nobody will care about what we produce. We have to learn to make space for this fear. Accept that it will come along for the ride as we begin a project, work with it and not against it, letting out bravery and determination shine through. We have to switch off from fear’s powerful voice, put her on mute, and keep creating for the sheer joy it has the potential to bring.

Ideas Choose To Live Through Us 

Gilbert has an interesting theory about ideas and how they work. She is a firm believer that they are all around us, floating in the ether, searching for their ideal partner. We may be approached by many at a time, some that appeal to us and some that may not. If we choose to say no, it is important that we wholeheartedly let that idea go. We have all been in a situation where we have found ourselves saying ‘hey, they stole my idea!’ Or ‘I was going to do that!’ The realisation is they didn’t steal your idea, you let it pass for whatever reason and therefore it continued on its journey to find somebody new.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Important Or Original

You do not need permission from anybody other than yourself to live creatively. Define yourself as an artist. Don’t be afraid.

Im a photographer

I’m an illustrator

I’m a blogger

I’m a writer

I am all of these things and more. By defining our creativity and putting it out there into the Universe, it is only then that we can manifest authenticity. It isn’t about being original anymore it’s about being authentic. Chances are it’s been written before, drawn before, photographed before but who cares. It wasn’t completed by you. You make it authentic.

Do It For Yourself

Do not create to try and save others, create to save yourself. Draw to feel a sense of calm in your life and choose a subject that resonates within you. Write about subjects that you wish to, in your own style for your own benefit.  If you want to create something to help others then that burden to do so will be felt by them too. Do not make it your sole purpose, accept it purely as a bonus if your outlet helps another.

Enjoyment Vs. Money

‘It is dishonourable to demand that your creativity pays for your whole existence’

Creating Art solely for money is a recipe for failure. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all make a living from our creativity, use it to support a family or keep a roof over our heads? Yes it is possible, and keep those dreams in sight, but the reality is it appears few and far between. Gilbert urges us to keep creating because we enjoy it not because we desperately want it to pay the bills. Keeping a day job and allowing the creativity to flow in our free time is the safest option. That way, if inspiration hasn’t come a knocking and our craft is put on hold then we can still keep food on the table.

Be True To Your Devotional Path

Be true to your path and keep going. Even on the days when creativity evades you, keep trying. Whether you write the worst blog post of your existence or your drawing is really terrible, persevere. Just finish. That shows a true commitment to your path whether what you produce is magical or mundane. Allow your creativity to matter enough to you that you will do anything to make extra sacrifices for it. Have an affair with it. Sneak off and write in your lunch break, stay up until 3am drawing because you cannot bring yourself to part from it. Lose yourself in whatever you choose to do.

Be Curious

Ultimately, it is curiosity that helps to keep our creative spark alight. You can find inspiration in the strangest of places if you trust your instinct. If you have an urge to research, create, do or see something completely different, then do not hold yourself back. It is usually in the most mundane situations we can stumble across something magical.


Gilbert has taught me to say yes more.

To be patient with my creativity.

To allow inspiration to come and go as it pleases.

To keep going even at times when giving up seems to be the easiest option.

That finishing is the most important factor, regardless of the end product.

I have to stay true to my authentic self and never feel ashamed or embarrassed of what I produce.

To give my creativity room to flourish outside of the bread and butter Job.

Put my passion and enjoyment ahead of money.

How do you live creatively?



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