Hello, friends! As I mentioned on my IG account, I'm starting a new series called Books I Love where I’ll review and share some of my favorite quotes from books I’ve been reading and falling in love with. Reading has always been a huge part of my life and many times I’ve found myself wanting to share some of the best lessons I’ve derived from my favorite books with others, without knowing how.
Thankfully, (and remind me, why hadn't I thought about this before? LOL.) I have this little corner of the web where I can share all of this with you, hoping you take something great out of it and maybe even become inspired to get the book and read it in your own time! To kick things off, I chose a book which discusses creative living beyond fear, as I’ve been touching on the subject of fear fairly recently. Also, the book’s overall message spoke to me in ways I would’ve never imagined; the author’s message can be applied to one’s creative life journey and to one’s personal life as well. This book is titled Big Magic.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic is quite a treat. A witty, airy, and refreshing reality check, with a hint of sunshine. As she explains, she wrote this book for herself as she truly enjoys thinking about the subject of creativity and finds it both enjoyable and useful to meditate on this topic. From her childhood days and her fear of basically everything to overcoming these fears, committing to becoming a writer, and becoming a New York Times-bestselling author (and giving no f*cks in between), Gilbert surprises us with the many lessons she’s learned throughout her creative journey. My favorite part about this book? Well, the lessons she shares with us can pretty much apply to any life situation, whether in the pursuit of creativity or of simply finding what it is which you are so passionate about to wholeheartedly pursue.
Without giving too much away, below I’ve listed some of my favorite quotes from her book and a little summary of why I felt so connected to these words. I truly hope you enjoy this review and I seriously, hands down, one hundred percent recommend you think about giving this badass read a shot!
Throughout the book, Gilbert talks vast and wide about having the courage to face your fears, insecurities, panics, anxieties, etc. She opens up about this from personal experience and from the experience of watching other creatives around her find the courage to pursue their ambitions.
"Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?"
"Because creative living is a path for the brave. We all know this. And we all know that when courage dies, creativity dies with it. We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun."
The author is far too familiar with the subject of fear as she struggled with it since very early in her childhood. There came a point in her life where she realized how boring her fear was to her and from there on she began to see fear from a different light and more courageous perspective.
"I made a decision a long time ago that if I want creativity in my life—and I do—then I will have to make space for fear, too."
"I’ve noticed that when people try to kill off their fear, they often end up inadvertently murdering their creativity in the process.”
"It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back."
I really didn’t want to give a lot away on this one, as the way in which Gilbert depicts ideas is the sheer basis of what she calls 'big magic'. I believe her entire discussion on how ideas are born and how they interact with creatives and creators, seeking to be brought to life, is a thing of pure wonder. It might be best to leave this for you to read on your own, but I want to leave you with this one:
"Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”
On Creative Living
Gilbert is extremely passionate about creative living and about encouraging others to lead their best creative lives. The quotes highlighted below were some of my favorite; some felt like a slap in the face, others like a kick in the but, and a few like a gentle reminder of everything we, as creative beings, already know but at times tend to take for granted or need a little refresher on.
"You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.”
"You can clear out whatever obstacles are preventing you from living your most creative life, with the simple understanding that whatever is bad for you is probably also bad for your work.”
"You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your success or failures. You can battle your demons (through therapy, recovery, prayer, or humility) instead of battling your gifts—in part by realizing that your demons were never the ones doing the work, anyhow.”
"I work steadily, and I always thank the process. Whether I am touched by grace or not, I thank creativity for allowing me to engage with it at all.”
"All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life—collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand.”
"You want to write a book? Make a song? Direct a movie? Decorate pottery? Learn a dance? Explore a new land? You want to draw a penis on your wall? Do it. Who cares? It’s your birthright as a human being, so do it with a cheerful heart.”
"Because often what keeps you from creative living is your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgment, your crushing sense of self-protection).”
"Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart, The rest of it will take care of itself.”
On Complaining and Panicking
Well, aren’t we all guilty of this. I make an active effort not to fall into the traps of complaint and panic but at times they do get the best of me. In those times, reminding myself of the passages below helps. It also helps knowing how both complaining and panicking won’t get me anywhere I desire to. Every now and then I have to switch up the methodology of reminders, but I always snap out of it at one point or another. We all do because we have to.
"There are so many good reasons to stop complaining if you want to live a more creative life.”
"Every time you express a complaint about how difficult and tiresome it is to be creative, inspiration takes another step away from you, offended.”
"Over years of devotional work, though, I found that if I just stayed with the process and didn’t panic, I could pass safely through each stage of anxiety and on to the next level."
On Having A Job and Pursuing Your Craft
As someone who’s always had a side-hustle, I’ve grown tired of people who demand so much from it. You do what you are passionate about because you love it, not because you expect for it to sustain you. I mean, if your side-gig takes off and you are able to derive a steady income from it, congratulations! But this shouldn’t be your main motivation to get your passion projects to the next level, your passion for them should be your ultimate drive. Also, this may mean you’ll be working a full-time job while chasing your dreams and this is perfectly fine. Keep it, let this job sustain you and give your passion project the freedom to exist and take off as it should, on its own time, without any unnecessary pressures.
"I’ve always felt like this is so cruel to your work-to demand a regular paycheck from it, as if creativity were a government job, or a trust fund.”
You can look after yourself in this world while looking after your creativity at the time time—just as people have done for ages. What’s more, there is profound sense of honor to be found in looking after yourself, and that honor will resonate powerfully in your work; it will make your work stronger.”
There is no dishonor in having a job. What is dishonorable is scaring away your creativity by demanding that it pay for your entire existence.”
The Shit Sandwich
Gilbert makes mention to a blog post written by blogger and author Mark Manson (who’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck I’ll be covering on here soon) and how he says the secret to finding your purpose in life is to answer this question in total honesty: “What’s your favorite flavor of shit sandwich?” Keep reading.
"What Manson means is that every single pursuit-no matter how wonderful and exciting and glamorous it may initially seem-comes with its own brand of shit sandwich, its own lousy side effects. As Manson writes with profound wisdom: “Everything sucks, some of the time.” You just have to decide what sort of suckage you’re willing to deal with. So the question is not so much “What are you passionate about?” The question is “What are you passionate enough about that you can endure the most disagreeable aspect of the work?””
"Because if you love and want something enough—whatever it is—then you don’t really mind eating the shit sandwich that comes with it.”
"…learning how to endure your disappointment and frustration is part of the job of a creative person. If you want to be an artist of any sort, it seemed to me, then handling your frustration is a fundamental aspect of the work-perhaps the single most fundamental aspect of the work. Frustration is not an interruption of your process; frustration is the process.”
"Holding yourself together through all the phases of creation is where the real work lies.”
On a Personal Note
To wrap this up, I want to close this review with one of the quotes from Gilbert’s Big Magic which struck me the most:
"All I was trying to do with that book was figure myself out. In the process, though, I wrote a story that apparently helped a lot of other people figure themselves out.”
THIS. This. Right. Here. This is why I blog. This is why I write. THIS is why I create. For myself and for nobody else. To figure myself out, to vent, to process things, to reflect, to meditate in written form. I’ve never known a better way to express myself than with written words. It has always come to me naturally and I find SO much joy and pleasure writing about my personal experiences, about the things I like, dislike, my passions, dreams, goals, sorrows… When my words end up resonating with at least one individual, it means the universe to me. But this is not why I write. I write because it fills me. And I sprinkle it in with other things which I’m also thrilled about (i.e. fashion, living in NYC, traveling).
At the end of the day, we can all exercise creative living. Creativity has been within us all along, it is just about tapping into it, getting in touch with this aspect of ourselves and setting it free. If you agree with this, decide to purchase the book, have any comments or questions, be sure to comment below or shoot me an email. I love sharing my experiences with you as much as I love hearing about yours!
One thing I would love to highlight about my outfit for this post is the ever so fabulous Gabriella Satchel bag from Brahmin. I had the opportunity to stop by Brahmin’s 35th-anniversary celebration a few weeks ago and was gifted with this stunning bag, which may I say, goes perfectly if you’re ever having an important business meeting and want to swoon over the crowd. Seriously, I had one very recently and received way too many compliments! You can shop it here.