Amanda Rae’s Top 3 Books of 2017

#3 – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I dabble. I dabble in painting. I dabble in gardening. I dabble in photography. I dabble in writing. I am not good at anything in particular. I do not have one TRUE passion in life. I will try anything and I am a hard worker when something interests me.

I think this is why Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert spoke to me on so many levels. This book made me smile, nod enthusiastically, giggle, ponder and kinda made my heart soar. Seriously. Soar. I want to go back and read it all again…

Hunting for Gems

The premise of this book is that we can ALL pursue creative living – we all have the capacity to create – we all have hidden gems within. Creative living can be defined as the HUNT for our creative treasures. Elizabeth wrote six sections in this book regarding living a creative life – courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity.

The beauty of the book is that she kindly tells us all to ‘Calm The F*ck Down’ – to seriously pursue our art, but not take it so dang seriously! We don’t have to quit our jobs, move to India or make a huge life transition to pursue our creativity (unless we really WANT to, of course.) We can explore our passions in a much more conservative way… in our normal day to day, average lives…

Alriiiiight! I’m on the HUNT for my creative gems.


Welcoming Inspiration

This book is amazing for someone who knows their passion, is pursuing their passion or needs “permission” to pursue their passion. Elizabeth makes it clear that she is NOT in agreement an artist needing to suffer for their art. She’s super practical – do not depend on your creativity to feed you and do not feed your creativity with angst and suffering.

Also, what are you willing to endure for your creativity… because it can suck sometimes! The doubt, the vulnerability, the rejection. Creative living is about perseverance and enjoying the mere process of it all – not expecting a certain outcome.

This book is also great for readers who DON’T have a passion. Like me. I have no burning desire to pursue any of my interests. I’m just mildly curious. Big Magic totally validated me in saying that creativity IS just curiosity… because when we are open, curious, and dedicated – creativity will find us, embrace us, choose us! For a time. Then it may flit away and that’s when our perseverance and curiosity kick in again. Our tenacity can seduce that inspiration right back into our lives for magical moments. Inspiration can be fleeting, passion can be fickle, but Big Magic loves ya!

I love this idea of my creative living being fueled by my own joy and perseverance with magical visits from my muse… my inspiration fairy… my playful creativity brownie, if you will. I will prove myself worthy of my brownie’s affections by listening for their whispers of inspiration, versus being too busy or loud within my own thoughts to notice. I will seduce my brownie by showing my commitment to the tasks, practising my endeavours regularly and joyfully. I just so happen to have two fairy doors in my yard… My brownies moved in last year and I’m only now appreciating them. Bring on the big magic, my helpers!


Courage vs Fear

My main goal after reviewing The Gifts of Imperfection was to cultivate my creativity. Big Magic has been the BEST follow-up to this goal! It wasn’t until the very end of Big Magic that I realized why the books fit so nicely – Elizabeth and Brené are buddies! Yasssssssss. I love this! I can totally picture them talking over wine about the challenges and joys of creating. Ummmmm… can I hang out with you guys?

“I think perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear. I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified. Because underneath that shiny veneer, perfectionism is nothing more than a deep existential angst that says, again and again, “I am not good enough and I will never be good enough” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

True dat! Perfectionism, AKA fear, has stopped me in my tracks one too many times.

Fear, to me, is like Jareth the Goblin King of Labyrinth. So seductive. So charming. He truly seems like he will give me everything I dream of… if I just sacrifice what I TRULY value (I’m Jennifer Connelly here if you haven’t figured it out. Check out the movie if you have NO idea what I’m referring too! LOL)

Well, sexy lying David Bowie (AKA Jareth, AKA my own fear), YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME! (<— click to see awesome Labyrinth clip)

You can whisper in my ear, but I’m in charge! When you say don’t bother – I will do something, anything, I’ll START. When you tell me “It’s not good enough… just wait… keep working on it” – “No!” I will say in response. “It’s fine – it’ll do – it’s good enough.” I’ll FINISH the task. When you try to tell me my efforts aren’t any good… people won’t like it… I’ll remind you they don’t have to be any good, people don’t need to like it!

Thanks to Elizabeth, my new creativity motto is Done is better than good and hopefully, I enjoyed the process of creating. It’s not always about the product (though it’s nice to like one’s end piece, let’s be honest here.)



In the spirit of something is better than nothing and done is better than good… I’m going to press publish on this blog post.

I was so enthusiastic about this book, yet really struggled to get something written for a review! I wanted to do it justice. I wanted to capture my takeaway. I wanted to get it just right. Well, screw it. It’s good enough. Here ya go!

I loved this book and feel it will be a huge help in my creative process.

Speaking of which, here are some of my Christmas creations this year. Yay me!

Lady Arthur Chelsea playing hockey Molly Scuba Amanda

What are YOUR creative gems? What do you dabble in?

Amanda Rae 🙂

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