Unlocking Creative Living: 10 Takeaways from "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert

I've just finished reading "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert and it honestly couldn't have come at a better time in my life. I wanted to share the key wisdom, insights and takeaways from it for anyone who also wants to create beautiful things but often hold onto them, or hides them away from the world for fear of what others will think. This book is a beautiful wake up call to just simply put your work out there. It's one big lesson into how to give up fear of judgement and enjoy the process of creating.

Key takeaways from "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert:

1. Embrace creativity with courage

In her book "Big Magic," Elizabeth Gilbert tells us that deep inside, we all have hidden treasures of creativity. It's like the universe has buried these gems within us and waits to see if we'll discover them. But here's the secret: you need courage for this journey. Instead of letting fear block your path, consider it your adventure companion. Embrace it, don't let it hold you back, and let courage be your key to unlocking your creative potential.

2. Creativity is for everyone

Gilbert reminds us that "If you're alive, you're a creative person." This perspective challenges the belief that only artists or writers can be creative. Your unique way of being creative matters, whether it's through art, cooking, problem-solving, or anything else. Embrace your creativity; it's valuable no matter who you are.

3. Ideas are live

Apparently ideas are like living beings, looking for someone to bring them to life. I love the belief that when an idea comes to you, it's a signal to take action. Ideas aren't random; they pick those who are ready to make them real. When you sense an idea stirring within you, give it the attention it deserves. By acknowledging and nurturing the ideas that come to you, you enter in to a creative partnership with the universe, giving form to these inspirations.

“You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.”

4. Permission to create

Gilbert tells us, "You don't need anyone's permission to be creative." This empowering message reminds us that we have the freedom to create without needing others to say it's okay, we just need to believe in ourselves first. You can create simply because it brings you joy. Don't let self-doubt or what others think stop you. The reaction to our work isn't ours to worry about. What others think or feel or interpret when they see or read your work is theirs.

5. Embrace curiosity

Curiosity is the secret to creative living. So, nurture your curiosity, explore what interests you, and follow your creative urges. It's often through curiosity that inspiration comes your way. Think of curiosity as the starting point for creative living. When you're curious, you naturally explore, learn, and dive into what fascinates you. It's a reminder to stay open to the wonders of the world and be ready for the inspiration that your inquisitiveness can spark.

6. Consistency and discipline matter

As Gilbert says, "Inspiration is like magic, a brilliant spark that meets a ready mind." To make the most of these moments, you need regular practice and discipline. Inspiration can be unpredictable, but it's more likely to strike when you're prepared. Regular practice and discipline are essential for nurturing creativity. By doing so, you create a friendly space where inspiration loves to visit and thrive.

“Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes, but even worse it often stops people from beginning their work.”

7. Let go of perfectionism

According to Gilbert, our creative urges as wonderful gifts. Forget about being perfect and focus on the happiness of creating instead. Mistakes and imperfections are natural when you're being creative. So, remember: it's okay not to be perfect. Creative projects can get messy, and that's all part of the fun. Instead of chasing perfection, enjoy the happiness and satisfaction that creating brings.

“Nobody was ever thinking about you anyhow”

8. Collaborate with fear

"Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity." Instead of fighting it, try living alongside it. Say hello to fear when it shows up, but don't let it stop you from being creative. Fear often pops up when we're exploring new things or following our creative interests. Gilbert's idea is simple: don't try to make fear disappear. Instead, accept that it's there, realise it's a common reaction when you're being creative, but don't let it get in the way of your creative adventures.

9. Your work has value

In her book, Gilbert says, "Creativity has the same basic ingredients for everyone: courage, wonder, permission, determination, trust. These are things anyone can access." Your creative work is valuable, no matter what others say. Your creativity isn't only about getting praise or achieving big success. The act of creating itself is valuable. It's about finding joy and satisfaction in the process, no matter what happens in the end.


“Don’t let go of your courage the moment things stop being easy or rewarding. Because that moment? That’s the moment when interesting begins.”

10. Don't wait for inspiration

Don't fall into the trap of waiting for inspiration. Instead, keep working on your creative projects regularly. This way, you make inspiration more likely to come and join you. Be active in our creative work, not just waiting around for inspiration. When you consistently show up and put in the effort, you make it easier for inspiration to be part of your creative journey.


"Big Magic" is a beautiful book about how to live a creative life without being held back by fear. These lessons can help you unlock your creative potential and lead a more fulfilling and inspired life. Everyone has the gift of creativity, and you can embrace it with courage and enthusiasm. When you apply these ideas in your daily life, they'll bring more creativity and wonder, not just to your art but to everything you do. 

Your creativity is a gift to the world. Embrace it. Share it. Live it.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published