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RAW Book Review: Big Magic

The Real African|| By Dumani Mandela

Every aspiring writer should read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It deals specifically with the range of motions that artists go through from fear to gripping dread about putting their work into the market.

It deals with the onset of these feelings in a rather methodological manner through personal stories of Elizabeth Gilbert and her struggles to get published. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the notion that artistic endeavor should rather bring about joy than dread or self-punishment for the sake of the work.

In her view joy leads to good art and fear and dread sometimes get in the way of good art. The book discussed the notion that ideas are conscious and want to be heard or brought to life through humanity and in fact, ideas will pick out the best person whom can bring them to life or make them heard.

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Author Elizabeth Gilbert

The book reads like an artists manifesto and delves deeply into the psyche of an artist and what they should expect when pursuing their artistic passion.

Although the book is a bit bi-polar at times in that it says the universe might not be against you and you should pursue your craft under the premise that the universe has your back but also at the same time success especially financial success should not be the end goal of artistic endeavors. To a large degree I think Elizabeth Gilbert in writing this book takes a safe position in that she wants to write a book to assist aspiring writers and artists but she insists that success is not guaranteed and the writer of artist should pursue their art form for the sole purpose of deriving joy from what they are doing.

Although I agree with her, I think she should have gone a step further in the book and should have told the writer what is it about her work that guaranteed her success. In a way she does this and talks about the idea of not being so committed to your work that you cannot change it and discusses the role of the ego as one of the impediments to getting one’s work into the market.

I would have liked her to go one step further and tell the reader that if certain rules are followed then success would be guaranteed. I think this would have given the reader much more hope that simply telling both sides of the same coin.

As a reader I finished the book feeling like there was something missing. Perhaps a bit more of one-sided motivation would bode well for the aspiring artist looking for motivation to keep doing what they are doing.

This book comes highly recommended from the RAW Talk Book Review desk and should be a tool that every writer should have access to whilst pursuing their art.


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