Elizabeth Gilbert’s Thoughts on Writing

So, I’m currently finishing up reading Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, which has been on the best-seller list for quite some time.  I generally don’t read bestsellers.  It is the anti-authoritarian streak in me, or perhaps more to the point, the I-don’t-want-to-do-what-everyone-else is doing streak.  My family knows the best way to get me to do something is to ask me not to do it.  And if someone tells me, "You’ll love this movie," or "You should read this book," forget it.  Won’t do it.

In the case of Eat, Pray, Love someone did tell me to read it, but it happened to be someone whose opinion I trust.  Thank you, Candace, for insisting.  And be aware that you are the only person in the last dozen years whose advice on reading I have taken.

I’m glad I did.  Eat,Pray, Love is a wonderful book, charmingly written, and it came to me just as I’ve been renewing my spiritual quest.  It is a memoir about the year Gilbert spent traveling, specifically, four months in Italy, four in India and four in Bali.

Today the thought occurred to me that I might check out Gilbert’s website.  It is fun to spin around and waste a few minutes on, but I really loved were her thoughts on writing.   She writes as charmingly about writing as she does about travel and spirituality:

"I believe that –if you are serious about a life of writing, or indeed about any creative form of expression–that you should take on this work like a holy calling.  I became a writer the way other people become a monks or nuns.  I made a vow to writing, very young."

I love that.  It makes me feel better about the long days I spend at my computer.  I love this, too:

"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."

It is a good essay, well worth reading.

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3 Comments on "Elizabeth Gilbert’s Thoughts on Writing"

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Writing Nag
Guest
11/21/2007 09:41

Thanks for the recommendation, it’s been on my list for awhile.

JD
Guest
11/24/2007 02:47

Thanks for this piece Charlotte. It’s probably what I needed to get out of this funk I’m in. I’ll definitely check out Gilbert’s website. Have a good day!
~JD

Charlotte
Guest
11/24/2007 20:26

You know, it never ceases to amaze me how differently we all react to books. Sometimes a book just hits us right, for whatever reason. Since I’ve finished this book and have been talking about it with others, I’ve found people who didn’t like the book quite so passionately as I did. But I stand by my opinion–I really loved it. Hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it!

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