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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear - Book Review

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by Selina Shapland (subscribe)
Visit me at selinashapland.com
Published October 19th 2018
Move beyond fear and have creative fun in your life
As a person who enjoys living a creative life and also suffers from anxiety, I found myself drawn to read Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert at a time in my life when my own creative expression felt blocked. I have been writing a novel and it is at the next level - the editing phase - and I was suffering from anxiety over taking the next step. I didn't know how to move past the anxious feelings I had about this creative project, so I started chatting with my friends about my experience and that's when a special friend of mine suggested I read, Big Magic.

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert, book review
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear - a book review by Selina Shapland


When she suggested I read this book, she flashed me a knowing smile and her eyes lit up in a way that suggested I'd find something valuable and freeing in the pages of this memoir-style text.

I listened to her suggestion and downloaded it through Audible and listened to Elizabeth Gilbert read the book to me. What a delight it was to hear the author speak her own words and tell of her own struggles with fear as she worked on developing a creative life, whether it resulted in a financial benefit or not.

I consumed the book as I walked through the Botanic Gardens of Brisbane City and contemplated my own relationship to creativity and the expectations I had subconsciously placed upon my own creative dreams.

As the book progressed, I had an 'a-ha' moment. I realised that I needed to give myself permission to write a good story rather than chasing a perfect one in the first instance. It seems so simple but when you're in the midst of confusion, such revelations are not so easy to spot. I found something shifting deep inside me and an inner rush of excitement flooded through me. Maybe just getting my manuscript completed was good enough for now? What I'd just heard made me see my creative project from a different perspective. That was exactly what I needed.

Big Magic made me think through my own approach to creative expression from different angles, and it was such a relief to listen to Elizabeth talk through the different phases of her own experiences. What she discussed resonated with me.

I had gone through many of the struggles Elizabeth addressed in the book. I had fear and I had to learn to trust in myself too. Finally, I felt like someone else understood the writing anxiety I had been struggling with.

I laughed out loud when Elizabeth Gilbert shared a story in the 'Trust' section of the book. The subsection is called 'Walk Proudly'. It was such a surprising tale of exposing oneself and believing in oneself that I giggled like a mad-woman as I walked down the street. I won't give away any spoilers here, but if you've read this section or if you do read this section, I hope you find it as amusing and delightful as I did.

Once I finished listening to the audio version, I went straight to the bookshop and purchased the paperback version. I loved this book so much and it resonated with me on a number of creative (and fear induced) levels that I knew I wanted to read it and absorb the tricks, tips and experiences on the page. This book deserved a place on my bookshelf.

For me, this book is a treasure trove of ideas and contemplations on living a creative life, finding meaning regardless of external approval and of permission to live the creative life I have always desired to have.

Big Magic is presented in broad categories:
Part I - Courage
Part II - Enchantment
Part III - Permission
Part IV - Persistence
Part V - Trust
Part VI - Divinity

Elizabeth Gilbert explores various topics under each heading and for me, this book, Big Magic, has an unseen quality that speaks of the possibilities of answering the call of a creative life and no longer holding yourself back.

If you would like to get a copy of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, you can pick it up at any bookstore, go online and download it as an e-book or you could listen to it through your audiobook provider. Then after reading this book, I hope you will jump into a creative life and express the big magic inside you too.
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Why? Moving beyond fear and into creativity is good fun
When: Anytime you feel like reading or listening to an audiobook
Where: Any bookstore, online or via your audiobook provider
Cost: Paperback is approximately $20
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