jump to navigation

Big Magic ~ Creative Living Beyond Fear December 17, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Magick & Mystery, Writing & Writers.

InfinityIn Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) addresses some of the challenges people face when creating.

In my words, not hers:

Don’t let fear of being rejected, ridiculed, or misunderstood stand in your way . . . you can’t please all of the people all of the time.  Create for yourself.

When ideas come to you, you can grab them and express them to the world as part of your portfolio . . . or let them drift off into the ether.  If  you drop the ball, the Universe will toss it to someone else because ideas want to be expressed.

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30When you feel inspiration tugging on your sleeve, be curious and follow it to see where it leads.  Curiosity and Creativity are congenial companions.

You don’t need a signed permission slip to live a creative life or attend a fancy ball dressed as the Court Lobster.

You don’t have to be original to be authentic.  Share whatever you care to share.

It is not your job to save the world through your creativity . . . it is your job to express yourself to the world.

Sometimes the well runs dry . . . and sometimes “inspiration arrives, out of a clear blue sky.”

Some ideas arrive in full regalia, ready for transcription.  Other ideas require a bit a coaxing before coming into being.

IMGP1472aWhat you write, paint, sculpt, cook, or sing doesn’t have to be important.  It can be silly, amusing, confusing, or whatever.  Do what you do because you enjoy doing it.

When you feel genuine enjoyment while creating, you win, no matter what happens with your work “out there.”

You don’t need a professional degree or fancy credentials to create beautiful art.  Just do your thing.

People aren’t thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves . . . so do what you want to do.

Don’t strive for perfection . . . good enough is good enough.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear



1. Val Boyko - December 17, 2015

Love this advice Nancy!
“It is not your job to save the world through your creativity . . . it is your job to express yourself to the world.”
Our purpose is to share our gifts with the world and not get caught up in the results!

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

Exactly! When we enjoy the journey, we win!

2. sued51 - December 17, 2015

Watch her speech on the Flight of the Hummingbird on SoulTV…it is phenomenal…

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

No time now, but if any one else is interested, here’s a link:


nrhatch - December 29, 2015

Her presentation about the “flight of the hummingbird” is a good reminder that we aren’t all on the same path.

And that the closing of one door doesn’t mean that that experience was a failure . . . because it led to the next door and the next and the next.

Thanks for the breadcrumb!

3. Under the Oaks - December 17, 2015

Lots of good words here from Elizabeth Gilbert!
Good Morning!

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

Morning, Pix. About to head to the pool and make a big SPLASH!

4. Don - December 17, 2015

Fantastic post Nancy. Every where in it there are little gems. Two that struck me, there are others:

If you drop the ball, the Universe will toss it to someone else because ideas want to be expressed.

It is not your job to save the world through your creativity . . . it is your job to express yourself to the world.

Beautiful stuff.

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

Glad it resonated, Don. And good picks!

5. anotherday2paradise - December 17, 2015

A really inspirational post, Nancy. Thank you. 🙂 xx

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

Thanks, Sylvia. Glad you enjoyed.

6. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - December 17, 2015

I, too, love this!! One of my favorite “ah ha” moments was when I read “people aren’t against you, they are for themselves” and that helped me on my own path to be genuine, and share my gift(s)! 🙂

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

Yes! Why worry about what “they” think about us . . . since they probably aren’t thinking about us anyway. :mrgreen:

7. Hariod Brawn - December 17, 2015

“People aren’t thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves.” – never a truer word was spoken.

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

Yup! Even the most accomplished “drama queens” (stationed at the water cooler or posing on Reality TV) are thinking about themselves when they bad-mouth others:

“I hate it when Sharon . . . ”
“I wish Roger would just . . . ”
“I get so tired of . . . “

8. William D'Andrea - December 17, 2015

This article expresses many of my thoughts and feelings as a writer.

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

Write on!

9. Anne Lene @ MinimalistSometimes - December 17, 2015

Love this 😉 reminds us to give it a try, whatever it is! Do it for YOU, never mind what other people think about what you create…

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

Yes! And I’ve found that being “open” to creativity provides me with the perfect solution the moment a “problem” arises!

10. wheremyfeetare - December 17, 2015

Great advice, Nancy! “Big Magic” is on my Christmas list.

nrhatch - December 17, 2015

I borrowed it from the library b/c I didn’t want it for my very limited permanent collection . . . but it’s a fun read with some fantastic anecdotes.

My fave: An idea for a book that got side-lined by Elizabeth while writing Committed. Down the road, she met and befriended another author. While chatting, Elizabeth mentioned the novel she’d never got around to writing . . . and, you guessed, that was the novel the other author was in the middle of writing.

Not exactly the same but oh, so, close. Both novels were set in South America; with a thriller/ romance plot, centering around a woman from Minnesota, in love with her boss . . .

wheremyfeetare - December 17, 2015

Wow. I guess Elizabeth’s idea was thrown back into the universe and landed with the author who was supposed to write it.

nrhatch - December 18, 2015

Or at least with an author who had the time, inclination, and resources to write it.

The Universe is a strange and magical place.

11. Carol Ferenc - December 17, 2015

Thank you, thank you for this post, Nancy! There are so many words of wisdom here … “When you feel genuine enjoyment while creating, you win … ” Big Magic just landed on my To Be Read list.

nrhatch - December 18, 2015

Elizabeth Gilbert is far from the “tortured artist” stereotype. She does what she likes and likes what she does. It’s all good!

Carol Ferenc - December 18, 2015

A role model for all of us 🙂

12. Tiny - December 17, 2015

Great advice and I fully agree. I love the last quote too…seeking for the jewels is the exciting part of the journey.

nrhatch - December 18, 2015

Here’s to gifts of gold hidden . . . in plain view!

13. L. Marie - December 18, 2015

“Don’t let fear of being rejected, ridiculed, or misunderstood stand in your way . . . you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Create for yourself.” It’s like you read my journal and knew that I needed to read this. So grateful I read this post today.

nrhatch - December 18, 2015

Awesome! Glad it landed in your in-box at just the write time!

14. diannegray - December 18, 2015

This is fantastic, Nancy. Sometimes people tell me they want to write a book and they ask what people like to read. I tell them they’re going about it all wrong. They should write what they want to write, not what they think others want to read. I love your saying “you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Create for yourself.”

😀 😀 😀

nrhatch - December 18, 2015

I found her views quite refreshing, but . . . I expect that more than a few angst-ridden tortured creative souls (who create to feed ego, rather than spirit) would be greatly affronted at the notion that CREATIVITY can be FUN!!! :mrgreen:

Write on!

15. BunKaryudo - December 20, 2015

Since reading your post and learning that the universe has buried strange jewels within me, I’ve been standing in front of the bathroom mirror while shining a flashlight down my throat. No luck yet, I’m afraid. 😦

nrhatch - December 21, 2015

Keep at it! Maybe a fish hook? Or some chewing gum on the end of a string? 🙄

BunKaryudo - December 21, 2015

Oh, I haven’t tried the gum yet. I’ll give that a go. 🙂

nrhatch - December 21, 2015

Good choice. Swallowing a fish hook is not for the faint of heart . . .

16. Debra - December 21, 2015

I like the statement, “You don’t have to be original to be authentic.” Isn’t that a warm and comforting thought. It’s not about pushing the boundaries as much as discovering what makes us happy and going with it! I think that it takes great creativity today just to live simply and finding pleasure in every day living. Simple living requires flexibility, and I think that’s creativity in motion!

nrhatch - December 21, 2015

Yes!!! Authentic creativity adds to our happiness without burdening us with ego-driven demands. We create for the simple Joy of creating, not because we are obsessed with “being seen.” If others like our art, great. If not, no matter.

Here’s to simple living and “creativity in motion.”

17. livelytwist - December 24, 2015

Interesting advice. This caught my eye:
People aren’t thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves . . . so do what you want to do.

Applied to writing, if you want to be read by others, you need to ‘tweak’ what you want to do…

nrhatch - December 24, 2015

Her point is that we should create for the sheer joy of creating.

Writing to be read means that you are creating because you desire applause, accolades, and acknowledgment. And you are apt to end up unhappy because Ego is NEVER satisfied. Enough is never enough.

In contrast, when we write because we enjoy writing, we win. No matter what happens out there.

livelytwist - December 24, 2015

I understand. My point is that you can’t just ‘slap’ two sentences together. You should pay attention to things like clarity, conciseness, etc, in other words skill. It’s not about applause or accolades it’s about respecting your audience.

Sometimes I see people put out shoddy work for the ‘sheer joy of creation’. 🙂

nrhatch - December 24, 2015

Oh, gotcha! I misunderstood what you meant by “tweak what you want to do.” I thought you meant that writers should let the audience steer the ship . . . even if that’s not the direction the writer wanted to go.

And I concur that clarity, conciseness, etc., add to the readability of pieces. When reading fiction, I am disinclined to decipher pages filled with obtuse passages. I seldom keep reading if it means that I’m stumbling over pot holes and plot holes.

From an earlier post of mine:

* No longer a dewy-eyed optimist, I refuse to believe that tedious writing, ill-formed characters, and laborious story lines will transform themselves if I forge ahead.

* Slogging through swamp water to reach a distant destination holds little appeal. I no longer expect to be surprised by a satisfactory ending after a dismal start.

In reading, like life, the journey matters more (to me) than the destination. I refuse to plod along a rocky road riddled with potholes solely to satisfy my curiosity about an unseen destination which may not be worth the trek.

Write on!

18. Eileen - February 1, 2016

I like that part: It’s not your job to save the world. It’s your job to express yourself to the world.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

I like it too . . . for writing and for life. To express ourselves to the world is the greatest gift we can share.

What Say YOU?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: