5 Lessons About Writing and Life From Elizabeth Gilbert

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Originally Published on Being Rudri

by Rudri Bhatt Patel

On Monday evening (July 2014), I attended a reading and Q & A session by author, Elizabeth Gilbert.  She is a fantastic speaker, who infuses humor, intellect and insight in what she articulates. Days after listening to her, the impact of her words lingered in my head. Although some of her advice centered on pursuing the arts, her wisdom carries power for the everyday. Here is what I learned:

5 Lessons About  Writing and Life From Elizabeth Gilbert - on Beyond Your Blog By Rudri Bhatt Patel

 

1. DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR PASSION EVERYDAY. FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITY.

Elizabeth bluntly stated that it is impossible to follow your passion everyday. Instead, she encouraged others to “follow their curiosity.” This is something you can feel everyday. By turning your head, looking around and paying attention you may discover something or nothing. Pursuing curiosity is not only practical, but possible. Her final words on the subject were simple, but memorable. “Live a curious life.”

2. BRING YOUR BEST SELF TO WORK.

An audience member asked Elizabeth about her writing rituals and whether she woke up and started writing in her pajamas. She emphatically said, “No.” Her ritual: she brings her best self to work. Even as a writer, she dresses up to write or type in her office.

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3. ASK YOURSELF: WHAT DID I COME TO DO ?

If you want to write, write. If you want to ________, do ___________. You have to sit through your own boredom to determine why you have entered the world and what is you want to do.

4. FEAR AND CREATIVITY ARE CONJOINED TWINS.

You have to accept that fear will accompany every project. Having a conversation with fear and accepting that it is a part of the process, alleviates the stress of trying to wish it away. This advice applies to any kind of life uncertainty or change. Fear is an underlying element and understanding that it is a part of the road trip might help the angst of challenges that may come in any pursuit.

[bctt tweet=”‘You have to accept that fear will accompany every project.'”]

5. YOU DON’T NEED A PERMISSION SLIP FROM ANYONE.

Elizabeth stated that she came from a family where people tended not to ask permission to pursue their interests. If you want to write, you don’t need approval from others to pursue your artistic endeavor. If you wait for permission from your mother or husband or sister, it may never come. So what or who are you waiting for?

 

Dream-Photography-Studio-IMG_7833e-1024x682-2-3-3Rudri Bhatt Patel is a former attorney turned writer and editor. Prior to attending law school, she graduated with an M.A. in English with an emphasis in creative writing. She is the managing editor for The First Dayand her work has appeared in Brain, Child, The Huffington Post, Role Reboot, The Review Review, Mamalode and elsewhere. She writes her personal musings on her blog, Being Rudri, and is currently working on a memoir that explores Hindu culture, grief and appreciating life’s ordinary graces. Connect with Rudri on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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7 Comments on “5 Lessons About Writing and Life From Elizabeth Gilbert”

  1. Elizabeth Gilbert is one of my all-time favorites and I eagerly anticipate the release of her new book on creativity.
    Having said that, I wonder about fear being the conjoined twin of creativity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m full of fear and still working on what to do with it all, but I heard something the other day that got me thinking. In essence, fear results from our ego mind and its desire to control the future. If we are truly in the moment, in “the now”, there is nothing to fear.
    I continue to ponder that …

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  3. Rudri, I love this, especially #5. “You don’t need a permission slip.” I often think “who am I to think I can write.” Whose permission am I looking for?! Thanks for the reminder!

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