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The magic of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast
#creativity, #writing

Last night, after putting Dean to bed, I pried myself off the MegaCouch to tackle some chores when I remembered I’d been meaning to listen to Elizabeth Gilbert’s new “Magic Lessons” podcast series.

I queued it up on my phone, stuck my headphones in, and got to work. But something happened five minutes in: I turned into this crazy person who started talking to … herself? Liz Gilbert? The women calling in? I don’t know, but every five seconds I was nodding along, whispering “yes,” feeling like EVERY CREATIVE NEEDS TO BE LISTENING TO THIS.

I made it through all four segments (each 20 minutes or less) and fell so hard for the message Liz is pushing in tandem with the September release of her new book. The support she’s giving creatives—to abandon their guilt, push forward, face their fears, and dig in to their passions—feels like a conversation so many makers need to hear.

At the start of every podcast, Liz (who has a great voice for podcasts, by the way), describes magic lessons as “road maps for the path to creativity … the extra nudge we need when we’re feeling stuck in our creative lives.”

I love that, don’t you? Now I can’t wait to keep listening (especially when special guests include fellow creatives like writer Cheryl Strayed and Pastor Rob Bell). In the meantime, here are a few nuggets to remember that I hope inspire you too:

Liz on the different ways fear can surface, stopping us from realizing our creative dreams:

“All procrastination is fear. Anything you do that stops you from the work that is gnawing at you, the work that wants to be made through you, the creative project that is begging you to realize it…anything you do that blocks that is fear. It might look like fear, but fear also has a lot of shady disguises. It can show up as perfectionism, insecurity, guilt, procrastination..all of it is something you are too scared to do.”

Liz sharing a quote from English author A.S. Byatt [I don’t know what it says about me, but these words resonated to the point where I actually felt my stomach seize up listening to them]:

“I think of my writing simply in terms of pleasure. It’s the most important thing in my life: making things. Much as I love my husband and children, I love them only because I am the person who makes things. I am who I am is the person who has the project of making a thing. And because that person does that all the time, that person is able to love all those other people.”

Liz on the ways mothers guilt themselves into believing they don’t deserve to do the creative things that fire them up:

Mothers are the members of society who need to be given the most permission to be able to do the things that ignite their own souls. Because there is some deep sense in the world that once you are a mother your lives belong exclusively, entirely, and only to your children. Even if they are in school … there is this deep sense that anything you do that ignites you, harms them.”

Also, if you’ve never watched Liz’s TED Talks on creativity, I HIGHLY recommend.

Your elusive creative genius

Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating

Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic podcast

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  • tracy riggs

    Beautiful blog!

    I spent some time listening to Gilbert’s ‘Magic Lesson’ podcast this early a.m. and found your post on her topic as well, when looking up the A.S. Byatt quote. Thank you for sharing. The quote also grabbed my attention, and I think it is the ‘gnawing’ that Gilbert was discussing…something needs to be created. I wish you great luck with your book, your ideas, and exploding your life into creativity!


    • gw_admin

      Thank you Tracy!

  • Courtney - Maui Jungalow

    I was looking up this quote too, to see if I had missed any words, and found your blog. Great post.

  • Marcie

    Love this! Liz Gilbert is the best. I’m writing a post about the first season of magic lessons for my new blog. It inspired me so much! I was looking around for some quotes and found this page. I’ll check out your other stuff as well.

  • Brittany

    I LOVED this quote. Stopped me dead too. I think Byatt, and Elizabeth, have really hit the nail on the head here for the desire of women (especially mothers) to CREATE and NURTURE themselves so that they have the strength to nurture and love others.

  • Angela Watt

    Hi Gail,
    I too have come to your blog in search of the A S Byatt quote referred to in Elizabeth Gilbert’s first podcast so thank you for sharing it. I am late to the party too as I have been meaning to listen to these podcasts for such a long time and here we are in 2017 and finally I managed the first episode. Go me hey!

    I felt the reaction too, although in my case, I was close to tears and had to write down the quote to refer to again. I also liked her references to being on the runway .

    Thanks again for sharing and wishing you well on your creative journey. Love this white space on this blog by the way. It’s so pretty.

  • Mary Brooks

    Hi Gail. I just spent a weekend with Liz and Martha Beck. It was a wonderful experience. I then listened to the podcast featuring you and was very moved by it. I really liked your awareness/shame trilogy as well as Liz’s advice about giving yourself permission as a mom. I am curious how your writing is going and if you got off the runway. all the best, Mary

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