This blog is going to be a little more personal than usual, but it’s hard to truly explain the impact of these two books without going a bit into how they affected me.
Before I start, I want to make mention that these two books are a little different from what I normally read (or blog about). I would say that probably about 95% of the books I gravitate toward are fiction – varying genres, but fiction none the less.
That being said, every once in a while I find myself in what I like to think of as a “creative slump.” This slump includes moments of little-to-no motivation, lack of interest in reading even the books that I am super excited about and just an overall feeling of doubt and negativity. Needless to say, it’s not a very fun time.
When I find myself in said slump, I usually look for books such as the two I’m going to share with you today. Books like these just somehow have a way of grabbing me by the collar and saying, “What the heck are you doing? Get up and get back to work!”
They inspire me. They motivate me. They remind me why I love writing and reading and all the other creative things I enjoy in life. I like to think they have a certain magic to them because all it takes is one read and it’s like a spell has come over me and my creative juices are flowing once again.
When someone asks me for a recommendation for a “self-help” book or just something to motivate/pick them up, these are always the two that come to mind. So therefore, I would like to share these motivational masterpieces with all of you.
They are (drumroll please):
- ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert
- ‘My Friend Fear’ by Meera Lee Patel.
I read ‘Big Magic’ at the end of 2016. At the time, I was feeling a bit down and not very optimistic about my career path and how to get myself back on track. For those of you who don’t know me, writing is the absolute joy of my life. It’s all I know, and without it, I don’t even know who I would be. At the time of reading ‘Big Magic’, I was working two jobs to pay the bills and don’t get me wrong, I was very grateful to have them, but they weren’t exactly what I’m passionate about.
In my spare time, I was working hard to try and find a way to share my writing or get assignments, but it just wasn’t in God’s plan for me at that time. After a few months of nothing and no replies, I began to feel a bit defeated and placed it on the back burner for a while.
Then I read ‘Big Magic’. I know it’s kind of silly to say a book “brought you back to life,” but creatively speaking, I really believe that is exactly what this book did for me. It reawakened an inspiration in me that had all but disappeared. I went into 2017 feeling so motivated and ready to take on any challenges standing in my way. And that kind of motivation worked. Just a few months into the year, I was writing for 4 local magazines and had picked back up with my fiction writing as well.
And I really do owe a lot of the positivity and inspiration that helped me to this book.
I read ‘My Friend Fear’ recently and while I wasn’t really feeling down, I just felt I could use a dose of inspiration and the topic of fear (which is a constant in both of these books) has always been very fascinating to me.
I’ve always been a pretty anxious person – especially when it comes to the unknown. I worry about anything and everything and at times, I do think that has held me back from growth/experiences. But after reading these two books, I’m a lot more aware and conscious of it and it has helped me in the long-run.
I highlighted and tagged so many pages and quotes in both of these books.
They taught me so much about creative energy and how to let go of certain aspects that you have no control over in life. They reminded me of things that I have long since pushed to the back of my mind and had replaced with fear.
They taught me that fear is actually the one thing that holds you back ever reaching your full potential. And that your successes and failures are irrelevant. It’s your journey and how your art makes you feel that truly matters at the end of the day.
Mainly, they reminded me why I love what I do.
I write because I love it. I write because I need to write. And even if I never become a successful author or reach all my goals, I will still continue to do it.
That’s what these two books showed me. Life is about doing what makes you happy. Whatever that may be. Yes, it can be scary. Yes, it can be challenging. But fear is not the enemy. Fear is just a reminder that what you’re doing is a step outside your comfort zone. And nine times out of ten, that’s a good thing. That’s how you grow.
I would definitely recommend these two books to anybody who is just looking for an uplift in their life. You do not need to be a writer or an artist or a musician or really even creative in any way to truly get something from it. It honestly just opens up your mind to how to truly live a full and satisfying life!
So what are you waiting for? Go read them today! I’m sure glad I did….
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
My Friend Fear – Meera Lee Patel