Things I Learned from Gilbert’s New Book, Big Magic

The best thing about Big Magic is that you get this feeling that Elizabeth Gilbert is talking to (not at) you.

She tells lots of stories, punctuated by lessons and gentle nudges.

Big Magic the kind of book that makes you feel good about taking the road less traveled.

I personally feel as though I haven’t finished reading a book until I write about it.

So, here are my thoughts.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

1. Keep your day job

Apparently, Elizabeth Gilbert did not quit her day job until after Eat Pray Love.

I found that to be refreshing.

Creativity requires a certain looseness that looming electric bills can easily strangle.

2. Follow your bliss

The actual word she uses in Big Magic is “curiosity”.

But I prefer to think of it as bliss.

There are many things that I am blissfully curious about but I don’t explore.


Because it feels like a waste of time to dance, or paint, or learn photography when there are orphans to save and planets to clean up.

3. Grunt work is required

It’s easy to get caught up in people’s highlight reel.

I love that Big Magic had a constant theme reminding the reader that creativity is work.

I love that Elizabeth Gilbert talks about her non-Eat Pray Love writing experiences.

She talks about when she wrote articles for magazines for example.

I didn’t know she did that.

4. Rejection is part of the deal

I already knew this but it was a nice reminder.

Rejection is just part of the game. It’s nothing personal.

5. Create, let it go, repeat

This is my favorite takeaway from Big Magic.

There is a part of the book where she draws an analogy between parenthood and the life of an artist.

Some parents are completely unable to let their children go out and explore.

They hover and try their best to control the child in every way possible.

She cautions artists about becoming these types of parents.

Basically, once you create your art, release it, and move on to the next project.

Let it go.

The outcome is not yours to control.

6. Don’t be dramatic

Still on the parenting analogy here.

Your art is not your “baby”.


So do the work, put it out there, and don’t be overly dramatic about it.

7. Practice

Ira Glass says something similar.

When you first start, you will suck.

Just know this in advance so that you’re not too disappointed.

Then set your hand to purpose and practice.

Then and only then will you get better.

8. Keep creating

The saddest story in Big Magic was about Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Apparently, To Kill a Mockingbird was so successful that Harper Lee never found the courage to write again.

I guess she didn’t want to make something that wouldn’t be as good as To Kill a Mockingbird.

Really sad but I can relate.

I’ve written another book after Story Story but I don’t think it really qualifies as a “book”. It’s more like a guide.

Final Thoughts on Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I’ll rate Big Magic an 8/10.

It’s a fantastic book and I highly recommend it for every entrepreneur and spiritual-oriented person.

For the sake of comparison, I’d rate Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom around a 9 or 9.5/10.

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