Three phrases to live by from Big Magic

Life lessons for any creative person

The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was a pretty big deal... last summer. But of course I didn't read it at the same time as everyone else, I read it at the beginning of this year and loved it. You may wonder why I'm only just blogging about it now though and the reason is that recently I've found myself flicking back through its pages to re-absorb the encouragement and inspiration found within. It may sound a bit daft but it really does help with the inevitable self-doubt that comes with creativity especially when, like me, you're starting out in the scary world of selling the things you make. 

So rather than a book review, which would just be me saying how much I enjoyed it, I thought instead I'd pick out three phrases that stood out to me and could help any creative person through life: 

"Cooperate fully, humbly and joyfully with inspiration" (page 40)

Why it's important: You can't force inspiration. If you sit around waiting for it, it won't strike. So when you do get that exciting idea don't rush it, work with it.

"You do not need anybody's permission to live a creative life" (page 86)


"Or if you do worry that you need a permission slip - THERE, I just gave it to you. [...] Now go make something." (page 90)

Why it's important: I had a cliched 'lightbulb moment' when I read that sentence. Subconsciously I'd been waiting for the 'permission' to give things a go. I don't know whose permission I was waiting for. But at that second I realised I was waiting for it. The lesson here is to stop waiting and simply start, because waiting rooms are pretty boring places. 

"Don't rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you." (page 247)

Why it's important: I'm SO impatient. Always trying to skip the journey and rush to the destination. But it turns out that's pretty stressful and tiring and, you know, impossible. A good approach instead is to go through the obstacles in your way, rather than try to rush around them.

Those are the three things I'm reminding myself of often at the moment. I've applied them to my creative business, but the book itself is about a creative life, therefore use them as affirmations in whatever way you need - to take that new class, to tackle that big idea or simply in your everyday decisions. And of course, it's a brilliant book so you really should read the whole thing if you haven't already!

If you've read it, I'd love to know what you thought in the comments.



  1. I love the sound of this book. Thank you for sharing it. Those lessons are definitely so encouraging! I feel very inspired just from those little snippets. I love delving into books like this. Ps: The creations you've made are beautiful. Very best wishes.

    Keep Calm and Start Writing ~

    1. Thanks Amelia! Glad you like the quotes, it's definitely worth taking a look at the rest of the book too :)

  2. Hi Zoƫ I have been meaning to catch up on some reading over the winter, I will pop this one on the list!

  3. That last quote resonates with me too, I also rush to the destination and am always looking to move on to the next thing. Thank you!

    Kayte | www.simpleandseason.com

  4. Just another little message to say I have nominated your blog for The Bloggers Recognition Award. Very best wishes. Xx

    keep calm and start writing ~

  5. I am definitely going to pick up this book! It sounds lovely, Zoe! xx




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