The Writing Life: Don’t Write Brilliantly, Just Write
March 13, 2011
Welcome to my blog about the writing life and who knows what else in time to come. It’s meant to inspire, inform, and support 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, make it your next read. 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 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.
Don’t Be Perfect, Just Be
I’m starting this blog against all of my better writerly intentions today. 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). I decided this blog needs to premiere with no errors, with lists and photos and recommendations and helpful resources and an archive. I wanted to create a faux archive of the postings I would’ve published had I been dedicated to writing. This ambitious goal lives in my head as if anyone out there, anyone who might be reading this now, would be disappointed if I just posted what I’m posting now — a journal entry about the writing life that’s meant to help myself and others.
An Epiphany About Self-Criticism
Why, of all times, did I have a breakthrough? 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. It didn’t zing to my core until I read her book. Then I related to a thirty-something woman eating delicious meals in the ancient city of Rome, battling with her minds’ wild thoughts in meditation in India, falling in unplanned love. 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. I will update as often as I can. Some public blogs say, “Updated every Tuesday” or “every two weeks,” but if I commit to a window, I may fail. I’ll confine myself 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.
Karen Hugg is a writer and gardener living in the Seattle area. She is a certified ornamental horticulturalist and Master Pruner. When not digging in the dirt, she writes. She's been published in various journals, anthologies, websites, and more. Her life is happily hectic but she's lucky to have a patient husband and sweet children. Her pets aren't bad either. To learn more, explore http://www.karenhugg.com.