- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 5 hours and 6 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Penguin Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: September 22, 2015
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00U08ECQA
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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This was the message I (apparently) desperately needed to hear. I’m a stay-at-home mom with three young children. And when people ask me what I do, that is what I always tell them. But that isn’t what I want to tell them. What I want to tell them—what I want to shout from the rooftops, in fact—is that I’m a writer. Sure, barely anyone reads what I write, I’ve never been published, and it probably goes without saying that I’ve never been paid for a single sentence. In other words, no one really gets anything out of my work but me. But I love it, straight up. So I keep writing, regardless.
Yet it feels weird to declare yourself “A Something!” when that something doesn’t earn you money or status or likes or hits or retweets. Which means even though this side-passion feels so authentically “me,” I hide it so people won’t think I’m a loser, an imposter, a wannabe, an embarrassment, a failure…and the list goes on.
I guess this reality had been bumming me out more than I realized, because when I read the following words, they resonated with me in an unimaginably powerful and loving way--like I was receiving a cosmic hug:
“Shake yourself free of all your cumbersome ideas about what you require in order to become ‘creatively legitimate’… You do not need a permission slip from the principal’s office to live a creative life. Or if you do worry that you need a permission slip—THERE, I just gave it to you… Now go make something.”
In other words, Gilbert’s message is this: accept that you need to create. Accept that this is a part of you, that you are ALREADY “creatively legitimate.” And just do what you naturally feel compelled to do. Do it with joy—even when it gets difficult—and don’t worry about how it will be received (if it’s received at all). If you are called to be a maker, then you will just have to make. Own who you are, for better or worse.
So that’s what I’m doing from now on. I’m owning it. This is me stating my intent:
Hello, world. My name is Ladybug. I am a writer.
-it is not a dense, instructional, or academic primer about creativity.
-although Gilbert applies her thinking to all types of creativity, it's not really about anything but writing. Gilbert is a writer, and her examples are about writing. Although, someone who needs inspiration to pursue that creative hobby they've always loved may find some here.
-it's not high brow, and nothing Gilbert talks about is researched or proven. I guess that relates to the first point, which is that
This is a very *light* book. It's an encouraging book. And it's a book that contains, I think, some ideas you may not have heard before, or ideas we don't hear enough. Namely the idea that if you think about inspiration and writing ideas as independent spirits floating about in the ether, you need to do everything you can to attract them. Also that there's no reason to suffer for art, but there's every reason to enjoy it.
I don't really think Gilbert meant for her ideas to constitute a "religion of writing." But it's helpful to think about, in terms of your own positivity, dedication, and openness to creativity. Gilbert assures us that if we approach writing with joy, if we ignore all of the excuses we create not to write (I'm not good enough, I'm too old, I don't have an MFA, it will never pay, etc etc), and make space for creativity in our lives, that the writing will come, and it will be fulfilling.
I gave this book 4 stars because anytime I picked it up and read a few pages (I deliberately took more than a year to finish it), I was guaranteed to write afterward. So that's how I used it. Whenever I needed encouragement, I read a few pages. Whenever I was feeling overwhelmingly negative about writing, I read a few pages. Whenever I was convinced that I would never write a decent word, I read a few pages. In this way, I savored the book like Charlie savors his bar of chocolate for a whole month, nibbling at it in the dead of night when he needed it most.
In sum, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who is looking to study, or intellectually explore creativity. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to write. It worked for me. And I'll come back to it again whenever I'm feeling low about writing, because without fail, it made me want to write. And that's it.