Travel Lit, Writing

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Advise for Writers

Typewriter Tattoo by Amy Guth

I love this tattoo.



I stumbled upon this blog post by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) while googling “writers block”. I’m in the middle of writing a memoir (I’m on lucky page number 158) and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and discouraged. Writing a book is not only a lot of work but seems, at times, impossibly hard.  Sometimes I wonder if I have the intelligence, talent and time to undertake such a big project. But I’ve wanted to write a book since I was in the third grade, so I figure it’s probably as much of a life-calling as anything and I might as well give it my best shot.

I found Mrs. Gilberts words helpful and thought I’d share them with you (in case there are any aspiring writers or artists reading this). You can read the post in its entirety on the official Elizabeth Gilbert site.

“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.”

I found it comforting to know that even a NYTimes bestseller falls into the “I suck” mood every once in a while. I think the important thing to remember is that the point of writing isn’t the end result (the book or magazine article or what have you) but the process you undertake in order to reach it. Writing is a painfully difficult experience that everyone, even Elizabeth Gilbert, fails at from time to time. It’s what you do after you fail, how you chose to react to the failure, which provides the real growing experience. I believe that the point of life is to evolve into a better version of yourself and if the pain, the struggle and the failure is what you need to do that, than I say: bring it on.

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