Lessons from the Universe on the Myth of the Tortured Writer

Kait forwarded me an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. She sent this to me because it touches on things that Kait and I have talked about, like forgiveness and how it’s really hard. After reading through this, I decided to look up her TED Talk, which is what I wanted to show you.

There’s something I feel like I’m on the brink of really accepting–that I don’t have to be broken to be creative. This has always been a serious fear of mine, that if I manage to achieve better mental stability and a healthier outlook–if I were to let myself be really happy–I wouldn’t be able to find that place I need to be in to write, and I would lose something I value.

If you read along with my blog (thanks!) then you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been tending toward an outlook that there’s something Else giving me direction. That I’ve been choosing to think that I write what I write because the Universe wants me to put this stuff out there, and that’s why I’ve been given the gifts and experiences particular to my life. I recognized that concept in this talk. This talk which deals with Subsequent Book Syndrome, which, OMG, yeah, I have. I’ve also been trying to pay attention to things which seem to pop up over and over from different sources, dots that say “Connect me!” I think some of those dots are in here.

So anyway, here’s the video, and I’m going to write.


Filed under Laws of the Universe, Signs

3 responses to “Lessons from the Universe on the Myth of the Tortured Writer

  1. You and I have also sort of touched on this before. Kait and I seem to be more well-adjusted than writers “should” be. LOL. Honestly, I feel kind of the opposite of how you have always felt. If I go through any times of frustration, almost depression, I CAN’T write. I write better when I’m happy and satisfied with life. My exuberance carries over into my writing, and words flow so much better. But it seems, from talking to other writers and reading their blogs, that I’m kind of in the minority. Many writers seem to be tortured souls. And maybe most of them are like you…afraid that being happy will ruin their creativity. I honestly don’t know the answer to all this. I only know that I would rather be happy and not write, than be unhappy so I could write. As much as I love writing, I love myself more, and I WANT to be happy. I’m just lucky that I can have both. And I think you can, too. You just have to want it. Btw, I find that I can WRITE about tortured souls, even when I’m personally happy.

  2. Hey, Susan, this post makes me think you’re looking for some very big Answer. And I wonder if you’re seeking certainty–something that people with various anxiety issues tend to do (and it sounds like you’re very anxious about a lot of things, with writing the next book being only one example?)–and if so, that could be something that’s feeding your anxiety. Because, you know, you can’t actually be certain about anything. It’s an impossibility. And looking around for the answers only cements this idea in your brain that there actually is an Answer, and that you can find it if you look hard enough and you work hard enough. But the truth is that there isn’t one. There’s just life. And you could write a book or not write a book, but neither is right or wrong. You know?

    I think we’re kind of opposites. Like, I get freaked out when I’m not writing. I believe that the Answer is in writing, and I get very anxious when I don’t write. So, I write all the time, and I’m fairly prolific, but I’m totally a crazy person. Like, you’re going, “I’m afraid to start writing” and I’m going, “I’m afraid to stop writing.” πŸ™‚

    Anyway, what’s been really helping me with my anxiety is something called exposure therapy where you expose yourself to things you’re afraid of doing (or not doing) to convince yourself they’re not actually that scary. (Because I’m OCD, I have another wrinkle there, which is response prevention. I have to stop myself from ritualistically ruminating on the stuff I’m anxious about too.) I might be projecting myself onto you. I don’t know if I’m feeling like we’re similar when we aren’t, and I recognize you’ve got your own path, so if I’m not being helpful, just ignore me. πŸ™‚

  3. Pingback: Genius, Responsibility, and Showing Up | Kait Nolan

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