I recently finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love memoir. Overall, I enjoyed the book and it got me thinking about many things: where I would go if I had a year (a YEAR!!) to travel, how I changed and grew through the experience of divorce, the role of prayer and spirituality in my life, what kind of pasta to make for dinner… and writing — my need/desire/dread of writing my second novel.
I’ve been formulating a story for at least a year now; these characters are making noise in my head. I’ve mentally written the opening scene. Yesterday I got out my trusty pad of yellow-lined paper to begin making notes.
The signs are all there that I must do this. Now, I just need to do it and, boy, it’s gonna be a lot of work.
“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.”
“Writing is not like dancing or modeling; it’s not something where – if you missed it by age 19 – you’re finished. It’s never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world – at any age. At least try.”
“Writing is just a thing. It is a lovely thing, mind you, and it personally means the entire world to me, but I still recognize that it is just a thing. It is a thing that you can choose to pursue with your life because it excites you, or because you have a flair for it, or because it seems more rewarding than toiling away in an office. Sometimes it even works. Not always, but sometimes…”
“There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, ‘Dear saint–please, please, please…give me the grace to win the lottery.’ This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, ‘My son –please, please, please…buy a ticket.” – Eat, Pray, Love