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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 of the tortured artist…

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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 titles — Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. …

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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 your progress, think a bit more about what you want and then commit once again to some stuff that you are going to go away and do. …

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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. This is certainly true for me. The pandemic hasn’t given us good conditions for this. If you are struggling to find headspace or are permanently one step away from throttling someone you live with — fear not. …

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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 focus on producing quality work which satisfies your soul and makes you proud?

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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. You feel wretched for not doing the idea justice. …

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It was the morning after the night before. I came downstairs into the kitchen and I could still smell it.

My disastrous attempt at making green tomato chutney.

Hours of chopping and stirring become sloppy essence of burnt offerings. The saucepan sat on the stove in soak, with the blackened remnants of my attempt permanently seared to its DNA.

Having grown the tomatoes from seeds, I was downhearted. I felt like I had wasted them. When I first I sampled the contents of the pan it tasted amazing. I was so proud of myself.

And then it all went wrong.

But I had to remind myself, I have never ever tried pickling or making preserves. This was my first time. I didn’t know that you’re not supposed to put a lid on the pan. A lidless pan means that the vinegar can evaporate and cook down. This vital piece of information was presumed knowledge. …

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If only a creative life meant you could just be creative. But if anyone is going to see your work then you have to do marketing and publicity too. I don’t know about you, but these are the tasks I find both tedious and daunting.

You may need to ring a gallery and ask about renting it for an exhibition or pitch your book to a local bookshop or send emails to chase up the above requests when you hear nothing back.

You’d rather crawl under a rock and hide than do these tasks. You just want to write, or make more art. …

And your fingers tapping away

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Photo by David Klein on Unsplash

Stuck? Don’t know what to write about today? Bogged down in your novel and it is rapidly losing its joy?

Writing prompts can be a fun way to get your creative juices flowing again. You can use them as an exercise to start your writing session or just to write something different for a day.

They are a great way to banish writers block because you don’t have to take them seriously and you don’t have to show your work to anyone else. …

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It was one of those days when I felt unwell. Sometimes it is okay to push on with your work, other days you know it is better to rest. It was the latter for me. I told my boss I was sick, logged out of my work computer and went back to bed.

A few hours later, still in my PJs, I was camped out on the sofa watching TV. I flicked through the channels and came across a documentary about the life of Beethoven. I have a music degree so I have studied his music. …


Cali Bird

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

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