I started 2018 – work wise – by listening again to an archived version of TED Talks. The speaker was Elizabeth Gilbert, author of freakishly successful (in her own words) novel, “Eat, Pray, Love.” Gilbert’s talk wasn’t about the book. It was all about fear and creativity and genius. Write on!
In the past, muses were disembodied creative spirits, first called daemons and then geniuses. If your work bombed, it wasn’t your fault. Your genius was lame. Love it!
It made me think
Gilbert talks about poet Ruth Stone at one point, and how poems would come roaring down on her and she would have to run. Run like hell to get into the house and find and pen and paper to write it down before it roared right through her to find another poet. How is it that ideas come out of the blue? Is it that genius, that muse, that daemon waiting in the wings?
Elizabeth Gilbert doesn’t claim to be a pipeline, waiting for the genius to rush through her. She’s a mule, like most writers. She does the best she can and, in moments of doubt, occasionally talks to her genius and lets them know if they want the work to be better, they have to show up to do their part of the job. Write on.
Writing is work. Sometimes it flows and sometimes it falters. Sometimes it sings and sometimes it sucks. And sometimes… yes, sometimes there is genius. If you want to read more about Gilbert’s take on the whole thing, check out Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.
It made me get to work
I’m still waiting… for the genius, that is… but I’m doing my part. New Year’s Resolution’s don’t work for me. This year, it’s more of a deadline-based project. I’ve dusted off my research files and started in again on a project that I have had on the back burner for years. It’s a children’s picture book. I’m going to be back off the work-for-hire educational titles and focus a little more on my own ideas. The title of this one will be “Run Percy, Run!”
I’m talking to my genius now. I’ll do my part if you do yours. Here’s the deal, by April 1st (no joke, it’s written in ink on the calendar), I will have the manuscript out to a publisher. With or without a muse, or daemon or genuis, it will get done.
What project are you holding back on?
Are you afraid it won’t be good enough? Join me in letting go of fear and getting the job done in 2018. Write. Onwards. Upwards. Let the whole world hear your words sing – genius or not!