As someone who usually describes herself as a slow reader, I’m really glad I’ve picked up a reading habit again. I’ve decided to stop beating myself down for being the person who never knows who’s written the latest it thriller and can only list Jane Austen, when asked about my favourite author (so far the only author that I’ve read more than one book). I’ve discovered that I like reading about people figuring stuff out with a lot of honesty and humour. I really loved Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes and I’ve just finished another great one, Big Magic – Creative living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.
This book gave me a lot to think about and I think I need to buy it (I usually borrow my books from the city library) so I can go back to certain chapters when that crippling self doubt starts bubbling up. Writing book reports was never something I excelled at but here are a few things that I thought were great about this book. Firstly I love the way it’s written, it feels like you’re talking to a really good friend and she’s sharing stories and lessons learned over the years. I love the way Gilbert describes inspiration as this magical otherworldly thing but reminds you that in order for that to lead to anything, you need to work work work! There’s something about the encouraging but pragmatic advice that really spoke to me.
The other great thing the author encourages us to so, is to let go of perfection, it often stops you from finishing your work or even worse from ever starting in the first place. I’ve often not published or shown what I was working on because on some level I was afraid of what people might think but also that the work wasn’t good enough. So I’m really going to adopt the done is better than good motto. Because by finishing projects you can move on to the next one and the next one. That’s how you evolve and improve.
One thing Gilbert excellently does in this book is to debunk the whole idea that in order to create something great you have to suffer. I think creating can be a great help when you’re suffering but that pain and suffering should be vital to great work is a myth we need to discuss and tear apart.
Have any of you read this book? I’d like to hear your thoughts.