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CynV
04-04-2010, 10:49 AM
I went to check Elizabeth Gilbert's official site in lieu of the upcoming feature film release of Eat, Pray, Love. To be honest I'd heard of the book but didn't understand why it was popular enough to spawn a movie with "America's sweetheart" Julia Roberts.

What I found on the website were Gilbert's words on writing. They are some of the best words written on the craft of writing. I invite you to check it out especially if you're struggling with a book right now:

http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/writing.htm

aruna
04-04-2010, 11:10 AM
I liked this sentence best:

This is a path for the courageous and the faithful. You must find another reason to work, other than the desire for success or recognition. It must come from another place.

And I love her background colour! Think I'll steal it for my own website!
I have a lot to thank Gilbert for... I recently read Eat Pray Love, didn't like it much, but it inspired me to get to work on something new.

Jamesaritchie
04-04-2010, 08:34 PM
That kind of talk always makes me want to gag.

Exir
04-04-2010, 08:51 PM
Elaborate?

PortableHal
04-04-2010, 10:44 PM
A nice post and thanks for the link. There's good advice here but I wonder if E. Gilbert would have provided the same words of wisdom if she wasn't coming off of a huge bestseller that had made her rich.

I still prefer Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird when I'm seeking inspiration.

scarletpeaches
04-04-2010, 10:46 PM
That kind of talk always makes me want to gag.You really need to stop saying things I agree with.

I write because it's fun and it's what I'm good at, yes, but I refused to be ashamed of saying I want to pay the rent with my books as well.

And damn right I want recognition for it.

Millicent M'Lady
04-04-2010, 10:57 PM
I was reading through that and I thought she clouded a nice point with this:


Magazines, editors, agents – they all employ young people making $22,000 a year whose job it is to read through piles of manuscripts and send you back letters telling you that you aren’t good enough yet: LET THEM DO IT. Don’t pre-reject yourself. That’s their job, not yours. Your job is only to write your heart out, and let destiny take care of the rest.

Why is it necessary to imply that a low-paid worker is the one reading your work? Just seems kind of patronising. Maybe I'm being a bit overly sensitive this evening...

aruna
04-05-2010, 10:57 AM
You really need to stop saying things I agree with.

I write because it's fun and it's what I'm good at, yes, but I refused to be ashamed of saying I want to pay the rent with my books as well.

And damn right I want recognition for it.


Oh, I'm certainly not ashamed of saying I want to pay the rent from my writing, and much more than that! I've nothing at all against earning money from writing; in fact, let it roll in, I've got some very good uses for it!

As for recognition -- meh. I would write anonymously if need be. It's not important.

I'm not sure if it was Gilbert's article that makes JAR -- and you! -- want to gag, or my post following it. Doesn't matter much anyway, though I find it kind of weird. What exactly is gagworthy about either? :Shrug:I'm with Exir: Elaborate, please!

scarletpeaches
04-05-2010, 10:59 AM
I assumed it was the original comment too aruna!

Gag? At your posts? Pfft. As if anyone would dare! :D

aruna
04-05-2010, 10:59 AM
I assumed it was the original comment too aruna!

Gag? At your posts? Pfft. As if anyone would dare! :D


wheew! I'm relieved! I was getting worried there!

scarletpeaches
04-05-2010, 11:00 AM
And just in case anyone wonders, as someone who has a reputation for sarcasm, I wish to make it clear the above was a sincere post.

Which in itself probably sounds sarcastic.

So I'll shut up now and get back to work.

aruna
04-05-2010, 11:07 AM
BTW I agree with you and whis comment:

E. Gilbert would have provided the same words of wisdom if she wasn't coming off of a huge bestseller that had made her rich.

It's easy to be blase about the perks of writing when you've got Oprah rooting for you, and when this whole journey of spirituality and self-discovery was financed by a $200000 advance, and a signed book contract. All the reviews keep saying how brave she was but what's brave about that? It all read so contrived.I made a much bigger, longer, better journey on practically NOTHING. So yes, parts of the book did make me want to gag. (or maybe I'm just jealous.)

scarletpeaches
04-05-2010, 11:10 AM
Have you ever heard that saying, "Jump and the net will appear?"

From what I see in this thread, Ms Gilbert didn't have to worry about jumping; she had a net before she even leapt.

aruna
04-05-2010, 11:13 AM
Have you ever heard that saying, "Jump and the net will appear?"

From what I see in this thread, Ms Gilbert didn't have to worry about jumping; she had a net before she even leapt.

Exactly!!!!!!! Excellent!

Phaeal
04-05-2010, 08:42 PM
I still prefer Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird when I'm seeking inspiration.

Triple word. Just a smidgen of wisdom therefrom:

Writing is like learning to pay attention and to communicate what is going on. Now, if you ask me, what's going on is that we're all up to HERE in it, and probably the most important thing is that we not yell at one another. Otherwise we'd all just be barking away like Pekinese: "Ah! Stuck in the shit! And it's YOUR fault, YOU did this..."

This pulls me out of the shit every time.

scarletpeaches
04-05-2010, 08:43 PM
Ugh. I can't stand Bird by Bird. A more self-indulgent, narcissistic book of "Look at me!" mental masturbation I have yet to read.

aadams73
04-06-2010, 05:24 PM
Ugh. I can't stand Bird by Bird. A more self-indulgent, narcissistic book of "Look at me!" mental masturbation I have yet to read.

I'm about to go and donate a bunch of old books, but my copy of Bird by Bird is going in the trash--that's how little I think of it.

As for the OP: sorry, but Gilbert's advice is too Oprah-ish for me. It's just one step short of "visualize it and it will appear." And that's just not realistic, practical advice. But if it works for you and you get the job done, great! We all take different roads to get there.

Phaeal
04-06-2010, 08:35 PM
Ugh. I can't stand Bird by Bird. A more self-indulgent, narcissistic book of "Look at me!" mental masturbation I have yet to read.

You know, SP, if you hold back so much, you're going to explode.

;)

Phaeal
04-06-2010, 08:40 PM
I'm about to go and donate a bunch of old books, but my copy of Bird by Bird is going in the trash--that's how little I think of it.


Send it to me. People are always trying to borrow mine, so I need a spare.

Since I lent out my favorite scribbled-over Moby Dick and it never came back, I only lend spares. Dern booksnatchers.

CaroGirl
04-06-2010, 08:49 PM
This is exactly like her books. Some of it is great and some is full of choking crapitude.

willietheshakes
04-06-2010, 09:07 PM
Ugh. I can't stand Bird by Bird. A more self-indulgent, narcissistic book of "Look at me!" mental masturbation I have yet to read.

Haven't read Writing Down the Bones, then, eh?

aadams73
04-06-2010, 09:07 PM
Send it to me. People are always trying to borrow mine, so I need a spare.


If you really want it, it's all yours. :)

Phaeal
04-06-2010, 09:28 PM
This is exactly like her books. Some of it is great and some is full of choking crapitude.

Which proves her point that we're all up to our necks in it, doesn't it? Oops, the Pekinese are barking. 'Scuse me while I open the door and let them out.

Bubastes
04-06-2010, 09:32 PM
Haven't read Writing Down the Bones, then, eh?

Oh, ugh, I hated that one with a passion. I don't know why so many people recommend it as a writing book. I got nothing out of it.

scarletpeaches
04-06-2010, 09:37 PM
Haven't read Writing Down the Bones, then, eh?Thanks for reminding me of that self-indulgent, navel-gazing cranio-anal impacted shite, buster.

No, really. Thanks. You utter bastard.

timewaster
04-06-2010, 09:39 PM
That kind of talk always makes me want to gag.

Me too. I can't bear that kind of pious self aggrandisement but each to his own.

scarletpeaches
04-06-2010, 09:42 PM
I enjoy reading about other people's spiritual journeys. I honestly do. EPL wasn't the worst I'd ever read, but to know, as I said earlier, that she already had a net when she jumped does rather put a different slant on the book.

aruna
04-06-2010, 10:04 PM
Haven't read Writing Down the Bones, then, eh?

Oh, don't remind me of that! What a load of..... sssssssssssshhh.

Libbie
04-06-2010, 10:09 PM
I didn't enjoy the first part of Eat Pray Love, which is all I read of it. I did read the link posted, and while Gilbert does have some nice stuff to say about writing, I can't help but scoff a bit at her remarks that one must do it for the love of it and without any expectation for any compensation or recognition.

First, I find that very mildly offensive. Most of what I do, I do because I like to do it so well that I get a little praise for it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a person enjoying praise for her efforts, and putting in enough effort to get good enough at a task that she earns some recognition for it. It feels good. We all like to feel good, and to get pats on the back when we've done well. I think it's weird that so many people in our society look down on this and discourage people from doing something they're good at BECAUSE they are praised for it. Praise is fun.

Second, I'm sorry, but when you secure a six-figure advance before you go on your journey of self-discovery, you don't need to worry about whether it's going to provide financial compensation. IT ALREADY HAS. Phooey to that. And I fully intend to eventually earn big fat money from my writing, and I feel not one molecule of shame over this. The motivation to make a solvent career out of writing is the biggest portion of what drives me to keep writing.

"For the journey" is all well and good, but some of us include "achieving financial success and recognition" as a major part of "the journey."

I've always disliked the idea that if you're doing it for any reason other than money or props, you're doing it wrong.

scarletpeaches
04-06-2010, 10:11 PM
If this thread has achieved nothing else, willietheshakes NEARLY made aruna swear and that makes it all worth it.

Libbie
04-06-2010, 10:13 PM
Maybe she was just going to say "shishkebab."

aruna
04-06-2010, 10:20 PM
You guessed it! :)

aruna
04-06-2010, 10:31 PM
Second, I'm sorry, but when you secure a six-figure advance before you go on your journey of self-discovery, you don't need to worry about whether it's going to provide financial compensation. IT ALREADY HAS. Phooey to that. And I fully intend to eventually earn big fat money from my writing, and I feel not one molecule of shame over this. The motivation to make a solvent career out of writing is the biggest portion of what drives me to keep writing.
.

The very idea of setting out on a spiritual journey with the intention of writing a book about it rings hollow in my mind. Nothing can be spontaneous if every move you make is going to be recorded for your readers. It all has to go according to the plan, doesn't it? A journey like this should be made for its own sake, for its own reward. I don't doubt she was sincere, in her own way, but it was all very artificial. The India part especially put me off. That was no ashram, and it wasn't India, it was a gated institution run by Americans; she might just as well haev gone to the Catskiills! (And a highly controversial, manipulative cult besides, but that's another story.) She never even went outside the gates.

As for not wanting recognition: for me, that is just part of the way I aspire to live: to do what I need to do to the absolute best of my ability, and then let go. It's part of who I am, but it doesn't mean that others who do want the acclaim are wrong. We each go about it in our own way.

CaroGirl
04-06-2010, 10:33 PM
The very idea of setting out on a spiritual journey with the intention of writing a book about it rings hollow in my mind. Nothing can be spontaneous if every move you make is going to be recorded for your readers. It all has to go according to the plan, doesn't it? A journey like this should be made for its own sake, for its own reward. I don't doubt she was sincere, in her own way, but it was all very artificial. The India part especially put me off. That was no ashram, and it wasn't India, it was a gated institution run by Americans; she might just as well haev gone to the Catskiills! (And a highly controversial, maipulative cult besides, but that's another story.) She never even went outside the gates.

As for not wanting recognition: for me, that is just part of the way I aspire to live: to do what I need to do to the absolute best of my ability, and then let go. It's part of who I am, but it doewsn't mean that others who do want the acclaim are wrong. We each go about it in our own way.
I agree. Live first; write about it later.

blacbird
04-06-2010, 11:08 PM
Haven't read Writing Down the Bones, then, eh?

Beat me to it.

caw

wrangler
04-06-2010, 11:59 PM
my guess is this is one of those articles where you either "know" what elizabeth was talking about, or not.

everything she said made complete sense to me. everything.

geardrops
04-07-2010, 01:00 AM
There's one bit I really liked in there, and it was from someone else.

"Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work." -- Werner Herzog

Bubastes
04-07-2010, 01:11 AM
There's one bit I really liked in there, and it was from someone else.

"Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work." -- Werner Herzog

That was the part I liked too.

aruna
04-07-2010, 11:51 AM
my guess is this is one of those articles where you either "know" what elizabeth was talking about, or not.

everything she said made complete sense to me. everything.

The article makes absolute sense to me, too. Just that, having read the book, I'm sceptical. She talks the talk; does she walk the walk?

wrangler
04-07-2010, 06:01 PM
The article makes absolute sense to me, too. Just that, having read the book, I'm sceptical. She talks the talk; does she walk the walk?

I don't know what you mean by "does she walk the walk?" is there only one path a writer, in order to give advice, takes in order to make everything they say credible?

just because elizabeth already had a six-figure advance before she went off on her spiritual journey does not mean her journey was not "genuine." i am of the opinion, both of our journeys as "beings" and writers are unique to the person.

shaldna
04-07-2010, 06:13 PM
That kind of talk always makes me want to gag.


I'll second that.

aruna
04-07-2010, 06:19 PM
It's more than the advance, wrangler. It's the whole attitude she exposes in the article, as opposed to the attitude exposed in the book itself; her journey. There's a discrepancy there.
The advice she is giving is not the typical writer's advice; she is giving writing advice as a "spiritual being" who is unattached from all rewards. That's not what comes through in the book.

i am of the opinion, both of our journeys as "beings" and writers are unique to the person.
True enough.

wrangler
04-07-2010, 06:23 PM
It's more than the advance, wrangler. It's the whole attitude she exposes in the article, as opposed to the attitude exposed in the book itself; her journey. There's a discrepancy there.
The advice she is giving is not the typical writer's advice; she is giving writing advice as a "spiritual being" who is unattached from all rewards. That's not what comes through in the book. fair enough.

shaldna
04-07-2010, 06:27 PM
Whatever happened to 'just write the damn book'

Now it has to be a spiritual journey too?

wrangler
04-07-2010, 06:29 PM
It's more than the advance, wrangler. It's the whole attitude she exposes in the article, as opposed to the attitude exposed in the book itself; her journey. There's a discrepancy there.
The advice she is giving is not the typical writer's advice; she is giving writing advice as a "spiritual being" who is unattached from all rewards. That's not what comes through in the book. also, as a writer i tend to stay away from most typical writer's advice because it does not appeal to me. your typical "how-to" books make me sick to my stomach, therefore I find myself attracted to authors who give writing advice from a spiritual being point of view.

i've only recently started reading up on the business side of publishing because as a writer who believes I was born to write, I understand that, that in itself means absolutely nothing to publishing companies, and I respect that. i must have all angles covered when the time comes for negotiating my contract.

aruna
04-07-2010, 07:12 PM
Whatever happened to 'just write the damn book'

Now it has to be a spiritual journey too?


Not at all; it's more the other way around; ie, people who are on spiritual journeys who want to become writers! There's a different methodology altogether behind it.

shaldna
04-08-2010, 02:02 PM
Not at all; it's more the other way around; ie, people who are on spiritual journeys who want to become writers! There's a different methodology altogether behind it.


Or there are the people who go on spitual journeys with the intention of writing a book about it and making shed loads of money. It's not a spiritual journey if the whole thing has been orchestrated as a marketing tool.

Sorry, but I'm just not buying this crap. I hate the kind of self-indulgent, prententious navel-gazer who preaches that the only writing worth doing is writing that comes from the soul, or from whatever diety is fashionable this week, and equates the process of writing as something akin to headonism.

I write because I like it. I don't feel the need to stop washing and pad around a tibetian mountain top in my bare feet for five years in order to do it.

aruna
04-08-2010, 04:23 PM
Or there are the people who go on spitual journeys with the intention of writing a book about it and making shed loads of money. It's not a spiritual journey if the whole thing has been orchestrated as a marketing tool.

That's why I said above the whole thing had an inauthentic aftertaste to it. A spiritual journey is such an intimate, privae matter. How can you discuss it with a publisher an dpromise to commit to writing a book about it??? It;s not even the money so much that bothers me but the fact that it was all pre-conceived, and naturally, she had to produce certain "results" so as to make the book work.



Sorry, but I'm just not buying this crap. I hate the kind of self-indulgent, prententious navel-gazer who preaches that the only writing worth doing is writing that comes from the soul, or from whatever diety is fashionable this week, and equates the process of writing as something akin to headonism.

I write because I like it. I don't feel the need to stop washing and pad around a tibetian mountain top in my bare feet for five years in order to do it.

Some of us have a different, more right-brained approach to writing, and it's what works for us. Other, more conventional books, leave me cold, even the much loved S. King's On Writing.

I don't know if this is the way Gilbert writes. I know that some of what she says resonates with me and I understand it. But she could just as well have lifted those little sound-bites form someone else.

I do agree with you that EPL was first and foremost a commercial enterprise, and as such dubious as a spiritual memoir. I can't remember if she said that this is the ONLY way to write, and if she did, she's wrong; I don't feel like re-reading the article.

But the fact that some of us do write in this way is by no means an imperative for others to do the same! We all find what works best for us, and some of us have found unorthodox ways; as long as it works for us, it's OK. My first novel, the most loved and most succesful one of all, was written in this way so for me it does work. When I try writing in a more conventional way it falls flat.
(And no, I do NOT pad around a Tibetan mountaintop barefoot!)

shaldna
04-08-2010, 05:05 PM
I think you're right aruna. Everyone works differently, and some people do seem to prefer different methods, or have different reasons for writing.