Can a Book Help You Become More Creative? + 30 Day Blog Challenge

That’s the question I asked myself when I first heard the subject of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear.  The recent tome by the author of Eat Pray Love offers advice on overcoming the obstacles to living a creative life.  I know I just said self-help books put me to sleep, but my thoughts kept wandering back to this one and I finally bought it.

I want a creative life in a pretty literal sense.  My plan growing up was always to work in a cubicle during the day, write a brilliant work of fiction by night, send it off to a publisher, and quit the cubicle job immediately upon receiving a six-figure advance.  But obviously it’s not that simple, even if I were that good and that committed.  I’ve realized when it comes to writing that the hard way is the only way for most people, myself included.  (Thus the attempt to regularly send these awkward blog posts into the void).  But I would like to be a writer more than I would like to be less of a control freak or more of a green smoothie-drinking yogi, so maybe this is the self-help book for me.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

At the same time as I look forward to reading Big Magic, however, the idea that people are either born creative or not lingers in the back of my mind.  But I guess if we’ll never know the answer to that, we might as well believe we have what it takes and work toward our creative pursuits.  Here’s hoping Big Magic provides some help along the way…

I could use some inspiration this month in particular, as for some reason I signed up to publish every day for National Blog Posting Month.  We’ll see how that goes, considering it’s taken me an entire day with no obligations AND an extra hour thanks to daylight savings time to get this done.

What do you think?  Can a book help you become more creative?  I’ll be sharing my thoughts throughout the month, because I need to get multiple posts out of each topic if I’m going to write thirty posts in a row.

3 thoughts on “Can a Book Help You Become More Creative? + 30 Day Blog Challenge

  1. Anne Donnelly

    Hi! I’m also trying NaBloPoMo as a motivator this month… Good luck!!
    You’ve started off with an interesting question! There are so many different types of creativity, and I do believe that some of it comes down to DNA…but your environment also makes a huge difference in the degree to which your given creativity is able to flourish and I think this type of book seeks to help you manage (and optimize) those circumstances. That said, I haven’t read Big Magic, so I’m especially interested to read you thoughts on the subject. Have you ever read any books by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi? He is a psychology scholar who specializes in studying creativity from a psychological perspective. He’s written a few books which are on the technical side, but still pretty accessible. The most famous is Flow, which discusses his theory that people are happiest when they’re in a state of “flow” or more colloqiually “in the zone.” Fascinating stuff!

  2. Nicole Miller

    I haven’t read Csikszentmihalyi but I’ll have to give him a try – thanks for the suggestion! Funnily enough, this is the passage I just read in Big Magic, on being ‘in the zone’: “I only rarely experience this feeling, but it’s the most magnificent sensation imaginable when it arrives. I don’t think there is a more perfect happiness to be found in life than this state, except perhaps falling in love.” Guess Elizabeth Gilbert would agree with his theory! Good luck with the challenge 🙂

  3. Pingback: Big Magic, Part 1 | Blunders and absurdities

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