More Books Writers Should Read—3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic isn’t specifically a writing guide, but creativity is an essential part of writing, so I decided to include this book on my list. Elizabeth Gilbert shows us that creativity isn’t something to dread or an implement of suffering, but rather creativity should be embraced as something divine, fun, and magical. Through courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, and trust, we can reach the divinity of creativity and develop more wholesome lives.

Big Magic-More Books Writers Should Read

  • “A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and . . . [an] interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.”
  • “Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”
  • “Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do . . . There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”
  • “I don’t sit around waiting to write until my genius decides to pay me a visit. If anything, I have come to believe that my genius spends a lot of time waiting around for me.”
  • “The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust—and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.”
  • “Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes—but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work.”
  • “What you produce is not necessarily sacred, I realized, just because you think it’s sacred. What is sacred is the time that you spend working on the project, and what that time does to expand your imagination, and what that expanded imagination does to transform your life.”
  • “Your creative work is not your baby; if anything, you are its Everything I have ever written has brought me into being. Every project has matured me in a different way. I am who I am today precisely because of what I have made and what it has made me into. Creativity has hand-raised me and forged me into an adult.”
  • “Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living.”
  • “I think a lot of people quit pursuing creative lives because they’re scared of the word . . . they quit as soon as things aren’t easy anymore, as soon as it gets painful, or boring, or agitating. They quit as soon as they see something n their minds that scares them or hurts them. So they miss the good part, the wild part, the transformative part—the part when you push past the difficulty and enter into some raw new unexplored universe within yourself.”

Check out my blog post tomorrow where I will share a writing guide that uses psychology to teach writers what readers want from their story.

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