Friday, October 05, 2007

Elizabeth Gilbert's A Fucking Genius

This quote from "Thoughts On Writing" on her website is one of the most honest things I think I've ever heard another writer say.

"As for discipline – it’s important, but sort of over-rated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to write for an hour every day,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I suck, I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging and motherly love). The other thing to realize is that all writers think they suck. When I was writing “Eat, Pray, Love”, I had just as a strong a mantra of THIS SUCKS ringing through my head as anyone does when they write anything. But I had a clarion moment of truth during the process of that book. One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly bad my writing felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this – I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write. So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows."

Amen.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

i LOVE this. i'm going to print it, cut it out and tape it above my desk. my desk at work and my desk at home. because, God, i needed to hear this.

3:17 PM  
Blogger self taught artist said...

good find!
as an artist i relate. personally i want to GAG when artists have their websites touting a drawing a day. a painting a day. regimentation is maddening. I get it to a point, sometimes it is good to force yourself and to keep doing something but I believe in getting away from things, doing what comes to you when it comes and respecting the space in between. I don't want to look at 'practiced' art or reading by rote writing. I'd rather see some excitement in a work that was obviously induced right then and there. I'm sure many would agree and insist on practice practice practice.
its probably better to just let whatever it is come out without labeling and profusing anyways.
as for hate and other unpleasant thoughts about self/work, it too is a journey when you can start to appreciate what you are doing even in the midst of insecurity and loathing. Makes life a little more tolerable at least.

2:07 PM  

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