Don’t Write Brilliantly, Just Write

Welcome to my blog about writing, a website meant to inspire, inform and support all those out there who love language and love to express themselves through it. This first post is the outcome of my reading Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert’s first-person account of her spiritual journey. If you’re not familiar with this funny, vivid, contemplative memoir, please seek it out either through a bookstore or library (as I did). It’s the kind of book that, while telling the story of one woman’s transformation from depressed wife-who-has-it-all to untethered woman trying to get her physical and then emotional and then spiritual life together, inspires anyone who reads it into taking at least some sort of small action to make their own life (and maybe even others’) better.

I’m starting this blog against all of my better writerly intentions today, Thursday, March 13, 2008, because if I don’t, I never will. You see, I’m often at war inside my head about what to do, what is quality, what is interesting, what is the Best way to post on a blog. I’ve had this idea, for months actually (when I first created the blog and then abandoned it), that this blog needs to premiere with no errors, with lists and photos and recommendations and helpful resources and mostly an archive. A faux archive of all the postings I would’ve published had I been dedicated to writing my blog. I create this ambitious goal in my head, as if anyone out there, anyone who might be reading this now, would be disappointed in me if I just posted what I’m posting now — a journal entry about writing meant to help myself and others.

Why, of all times, did I have a breathrough? Well, in reading Eat, Pray, Love, I had an epiphany (several actually, which is difficult not to do after reading that book, especially if you’re a woman). But it was Gilbert’s words on her website about writing that helped me most. She says:

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. So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows.”

And though I might have heard words to that effect before, under the most intellectual of circumstances, I didn’t really register it, didn’t really let it zing to my core, until I was drawn into her book, drawn into scenarios of a thirty-something woman (like me) eating delicious meals in the ancient city of Rome. About that same woman battling with her minds’ wild thoughts in meditation in India. I guess my imagination had to be triggered in order to really listen through my heart.

So in an act of dedication to making my writing life better, and hopefully, others’ as well, I’m launching this blog today and will update as often as I can. Some public blogs say, “Updated every Tuesday” or “every two weeks” or what not, but I find if I commit to a week or two-week updating, I may inevitably fail in that I’ll be confined to a schedule and that, I suspect, is the quickest way, to kill the momentum I have going now. So I’ll just say “as often as I can,” which today, feels like it might be in just a few hours.

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