I’ve been known to be wrong before, not going to lie. There was a time when I wanted nothing to do with Elizabeth Gilbert. I looked at all the hype over ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ and thought to myself, “Wow, that looks like a whole bunch of middle class, middle aged midlife crisis. A well off woman who suddenly realizes she wants more from life.”
So I didn’t read it. But then, two people I trust told me about Big Magic. So I decided to give it a shot.
My mind is blown, and Elizabeth Gilbert is my soul mate. I owe her an apology.
Big Magic is really hard to describe at first. It’s not a ‘self help book,’ though I’m sure it will be categorized as one. It’s not a writing book, though she talks about writing throughout. And it’s not a biography, though she does talk about her past. It’s kind of like having coffee with a writer friend who’s been at this for a lot longer than me or you, and just talking about the craft.
So much of what Gilbert said in her book rings so true for me. She talks about writing being hard work, and having to put forth effort every day to write. But she also talks about the dangers of taking it too seriously, lest we lose our well being in the process. She talks about letting go of fear. She talks about having faith.
The best thing in the book, though, and the thing I took away from it, was when she talked about making money from writing. Gilbert had a full time day job after she published her first book. And she still had it after she published her second. It was only the third book that made her enough money to write full time.
Three books! Three published, on the shelves, people are buying these things books before she was able to quit her day job. And she doesn’t have two kids to put through college! The reality of this struck me right between the eyes for awhile. Then, I realized, as she did, that it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference.
I have written since I was thirteen, and made less than $20.00. I don’t care. I still love writing, still write every day. I would still rather write than do anything else.
Now, I totally intend to be able to write full time someday. But until then, I’m just going love the process, and keep putting words on the page.
I highly advise reading Big Magic. It really made me appreciate my creative life more.