I really enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray Love. I have not had the opportunity to read her latest book Committed yet, but I wanted to share an excerpt from her tips on writing at http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/writing.htm.
I particularly liked this paragraph:
“As for discipline – it’s important, but sort of over-rated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to write for an hour every day,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I suck, I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging and motherly love). The other thing to realize is that all writers think they suck. When I was writing “Eat, Pray, Love”, I had just as a strong a mantra of THIS SUCKS ringing through my head as anyone does when they write anything. But I had a clarion moment of truth during the process of that book. 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.”
My first book and subsequent stab at eBooks were not very good. But I finished them and put them out in the world at least for a short while. Only with feedback could I learn and improve. Now I have more experience and confidence in my writing and am proud of my latest two books. I am writing more books that will be published in 2011. The flood gates are now open but it took the first book to allow the opportunity for me to move into the love of writing and expressing myself in that way.
It gives me great pleasure to help new authors cross over into the publishing world and allow the possibilities to unfold after they have given birth to their book. So my advice is to write if it gives you pleasure and forgive yourself for your imperfections.
You will have more regrets in the end for not writing than for writing badly. Bad writing can be improved with editing or ghost writing, so let your ideas and creativity come out and get help if you need to polish your work. You do not have to be a natural writer to make an impact with your words. You just have to write and publish and let the world be the judge, make adjustments if needed and continue. Enjoy the journey.