books creativity Uncategorized

read :: what I learned from BIG MAGIC

In 2016 I want to read more. I actually read a lot in 2015 – but it was disorganized and all over the place. Half of the books I checked out from the library didn’t get finished before I had to take them back. I am hoping that in 2016 I can spend less time with the glow of a screen in front of my face and more time reading and learning and being inspired. From nonfiction to cookbooks to gardening books to books on art and artists, I am looking forward to sticking my nose in many books!


I started this off by finishing Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. From the moment this book came out it started popping up on my Instagram feed with rave reviews, and I have to admit it didn’t disappoint. I both checked it out from the library and listened to it on audible. I have to admit, I usually prefer reading a physical book strongly to listening to the audio, but when the author reads their own work, listening can be even more inspiring than reading, especially in the case of authors like Malcom Gladwell and Elizabeth Gilbert.


Aha! moments:

  1. Creativity and ideas are living, breathing things that need to be treated with respect. If you don’t nurture them, they’ll go away. I know, I know. The cynic in me says this is a little crazy, but wherever you think creativity comes from, there is a certain amount of openness we have to have to ideas, and that openness is a posture made to receive. If you try to force everything, your creative life will be harder. At the same time, though, we have to live in the tension of not forcing but showing up every day, working hard, even when it doesn’t feel like magic. I LOVE THAT.
  2. The world can teach you everything you need to know. Education is valuable, and I loved mine, but it doesn’t stop when you stop paying a university or college tuition. You can learn forever, from books, from people, from mentors. You don’t have to necessarily have to be pursuing a degree to learn. The world is filled with mentors on shelves in the library.
  3. Creativity happens constantly, if you’ll let it. It happens when you hit the “Big Magic” inspiration jackpot – it also happens when you don’t have ideas and everywhere in between. Keep working!
  4. Pursue other creative interests. Try something new! Often these new explorations lead to new projects or help to resolve creative blocks.
  5. Don’t expect your art and creativity to bear all of your financial burdens – it will crush you and the work. This was a big one for me. I want what I do to create income for my family (because things cost money) so I can keep having an excuse to make art – but this is why I  do other things in addition to making my art at this time. This was really practical advice that I loved. I think we so often buy into the idea that we aren’t legitimate creatives is our creative activity isn’t our 100% full-time gig. That’s simply not true. Your thoughts, ideas, and what you make with your hands are what make you an artist, not the ratio of where you spend your hours each week.


What have you been reading? Do you have any specific reading goals this year? Excited to learn more in 2016!

1 comment on “read :: what I learned from BIG MAGIC

  1. Sounds like it needs to go on my list! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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