"Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Note to the reader: I originally wrote this blog post in the fall of 2015. And for some reason, it was never published. I could go back through the post and make changes to reflect the current time. But that would get too confusing. So, just remember it was written in late September. Also, since I wrote this, I have seen the movie “Eat, Pray, Love.” I am also currently reading the book.

I consider myself to be a non-conformist in many ways — in the clothes I wear, the books I read, the television and movies I watch, and more. I have always been non-conforming on the inside, but struggled for years with the feeling of needing to appear to conform. Hence the title “The Conforming Non-Conformist.” In my first draft of this post, I wrote six paragraphs on this topic. Only to realize, in the end, that I was once again apologizing for my non-conformity. I guess that makes me a recovering conforming non-conformist?

True Confession: I have never read “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.” There! I’ve said it. I also didn’t know the author’s name or anything about Elizabeth Gilbert. It is sad that I felt the need to apologize and explain or rationalize exactly why I had never read “Eat Pray Love.” And why should I need to explain or apologize? Perhaps Elizabeth Gilbert should explain why her book never appealed to me. Or maybe, just maybe, we should forget all of that. Accept that I just never read the book and move on to the topic at hand. Honestly, I think Liz will understand.

So – I didn’t know who Liz Gilbert was until last week, when Marie Forleo’s newsletter popped up in my email with the title “My Big Magic Sit Down With Elizabeth Gilbert.” Forces totally beyond my control drew me to watch the video, especially since I had no idea who Elizabeth Gilbert was.

I watched the video on Wednesday, the day after it came out. After twenty minutes, not having realized I had been watching that long, I checked to see the length of the interview. Forty seven minutes! By that time, I was hooked so I watched till the end. That afternoon I went out and bought Elizabeth Gilbert’s book – “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” The next evening, I watched the video for a second time and took notes. Three pages of notes!

It was the perfect timing of the universe. What Liz said was exactly what I needed to hear. The push that I need right then for my own work. And it wasn’t strictly what she said, it was also how she said it.

The subtitle for “Big Magic” is “Creative Living Beyond Fear.” It has only been within the last ten years or so that I realized I actually am creative. I still struggle with letting that be seen. Even writing about it here is still scary to me. Sometimes, I do this exactly because they are scary. Like the time when I worked for Corporate America and I took a class called “Presentation Skills.” I took that class because I was scared to get up in front of people and talk.

Here are a few of my favorite take-aways from the interview:

  • Fear is a necessary companion. Its job is to protect us. However, fear does not get to make decisions or creative choices.
  • “Perfection is a serial killer.” “Done is better than good.”
  • “What will make you finish it is not discipline, but self-forgiveness.”

I agree with Marie that “Big Magic” should be required reading for everyone. If you’re wanting to work with your own creativity, it is a must. Go buy it and read it now. And yes, that’s an affiliate link up above, but you don’t have to buy from my link. Just go buy it. And then read it.

Perhaps, soon, it will be time for me to read “Eat Pray Love.” You know, in a non-conforming way.

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Hi, I’m Barbara McNeely, author and publisher in San Antonio, Texas. I coach authors who have a personal story they want to share in a book. And I consult and guide authors through the process of self-publishing their books.
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