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I can heartily recommend re-reading a favourite book on creativity and talking about each chapter with a friend, on camera.

We are now on our last episode of Unlocking Big Magic where Lesley and I review our top takeaways from the series. If you’ve missed any of the previous episodes, don’t worry. This where we recap our favourite and most powerful parts of the book.

I talk about my favourite sentence — Fear is a desolate boneyard where dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun.

And we also return to the chapter where Liz Gilbert says how normal it…


Then this episode is for you.

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This week in Unlocking Big Magic we talk about the Persistence chapter. This is my favourite chapter because it talks about all the struggles we have finding time to write, alongside all the other things life demands of us. This is not just a modern phenomena — apparently Herman Melville wrote to his friend about that exact same problem.

So often we wish that we didn’t have to work and earn money. Maybe we wish that there was someone who would take care of all of that for us so we can sit at ease in our studios and create…


Having enough time is a subset of having enough energy. For many years I bemoaned lack of time as I set about writing alongside a day job and marketing that writing. Recently I have realised that lack of time is not the main driver — it is lack of energy.

My day job as a software consultant requires a lot of mental energy to create and test solutions, often with time pressure and competing priorities. My aging parents have required more of my practical support and their plight can be emotionally draining. A determination to keep writing, no matter what, also requires mental fortitude.

Recently I ran out of mental juice and have had to take a break from everything. As I dip my toe back in the creative waters it is important that I find ways to replenish that mental well.

How do you support and manage your energy?


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If you are always making excuses as to why you can’t, or shouldn’t, get on with your creative practice then the Permission chapter of Big Magic is for you.

It’s packed with stories and information that will dismantle each of your excuses and leave you free to get on with the work. But if you want to keep being stuck with those excuses, then you’d better close this web window down immediately.

This episode is for you if:

  • You think there’s no point doing your thing because other people have already “done that”
  • You think you need someone else’s permission…

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In this week’s episode of Unlocking Big Magic, Lesley and I talk about the Enchantment chapter of the book, Big Magic. This chapter is about ideas: where they might come from, what happens if you act on them and what happens if you don’t.

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the indescribable magic of creativity. Some of the stories and examples are a bit ‘woo’ and having experienced some of what she describes, I totally buy into it.

We cover the following topics:

  • How to create a partnership with an idea and not be its slave or master
  • How to let go…

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I have recently recorded a series of conversations on the fabulous creativity book by Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic.

Published in 2015 this book soon became a creativity “bible” for me. Even if you are not a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s other books (such as Eat Pray Love) I still heartily recommend reading Big Magic. I promise you it will address all the hang-ups and barriers you might have around your creative process and dreams.

In this series of conversations, I’m chatting with Lesley Pyne, author of Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness. There are six chapters in the book with the following…


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Image by Cali Bird

I once did a coaching course with super-coach Michael Neill. He described the process of coaching as follows:

Imagine that you go outside your house and talk to a lamppost on the street. You tell the lamppost about what you would love to do with your life, you think about what action you could do towards those dreams right now and you make a commitment to the lamppost that you will go away and do two or three things that will take you closer to your dreams.

In two weeks time you report back to the lamppost, tell it about…


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Image by Alexandra Koch on Pixabay

What a year it has been!

You might have had to home-school your kids.

You might have had to fight with your partner to each find a suitable place to work at home.

You might have lost work and money and be dealing with the consequences.

You might have had more work than ever and are stressed from holding it all together.

You might have lost friends or relatives to the virus and be dealing with grief.

And you might have got sick yourself.

It is common for creative people to need to spend a lot of time by themselves…


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Image by Pixabay

You want to get on with your creative work or your side project but your family are going crazy around you.

Your phone seems to rule your life.

You’ve just read yet another blog which is telling you that you’re doing it all wrong and you must buy a course now for instant success.

If your creative ambition exceeds the time you have available it is easy to go in ever decreasing circles trying to find the best way to fit it all in. You find yourself busily going nowhere.

How can you shut out all of these distractions and…


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Pixabay — Photo by Pezibear

You have an idea for a new project. You’re really excited about it. You can feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Your gut is telling you that this is the thing.

You can’t wait to get going with it.

And then something happens. You get scared or daunted or start doubting whether it’s worth it. Or you get an onslaught of obstacles that prevent you getting on with the work.

All of a sudden you are fearful of this project. You don’t get as much done as you initially thought you would. You get frustrated…

Cali Bird

Realistic advice on being creative alongside your busy life. www.gentlecreative.com. I write novels too. Need romantic escapism? Check out www.calibird.com

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