I’m not big on Author Fan pages on Facebook, don’t have one myself (haven’t written anything worth a page. So far, anyway). But I ‘Liked’ Elizabeth Gilbert’s page at random and haven’t regretted it.
Yesterday, I saw a post on her page I want to share with everyone (who hasn’t seen it yet, cos she has a gazillion followers):
Somebody asked me the other day if writing was easy for me.
When I hesitated with my answer, they asked, “I mean…has it gotten easier over time, as you’ve gotten better at it?”
And still I hesitated with my answer. Because the truth is, I’ve never asked my work to be “easy”; I just want it to be interesting.
(By which I mean — I want my writing to be interesting for ME. If, as a side effect, my work eventually becomes interesting to you, that’s awesome. But mostly, I am just trying to interest and educate and occupy and challenge and delight myself.)
Often writing is indeed quite difficult for me. But I’m not sure that’s the point, and I know it’s definitely not a problem, because all the really interesting things in life are difficult — love, wisdom, growth, compassion, learning, travel, loyalty, courage, endurance, transformation…
The post goes on, and if you’re on Facebook, I encourage you to go read it, whether you’re a writer or not.
In my writing and in life, I’ve often found that I have to keep going, even when (especially when) I reach a breaking point. Be it writing, swimming, household chores, hiking, research– the best part is after you climb that one seemingly insurmountable hill– the other side’s where that gorgeous sunrise is at, or that wonderful dizzy feeling of making your 10th lap (I learned swimming two years ago, so), or that shiny house or that nugget of information. In writing, especially, every time I’ve pushed harder to a more painful place, or to a higher word count, I have found something worth keeping.
Because stories come to me– I don’t make them up. On days when they don’t come, I wait and I work, till they do. So, as Ms. Gilbert says:
Whatever it is you are pursuing, whatever it is you are seeking — be careful not to quit too soon. Don’t quit the moment it stops being easy, OK? Because that moment? If you stay in it and then stubbornly push past your fear and resistance? That’s the moment where INTERESTING begins.
Do you stick at stuff till you reach ‘Interesting’ answers, levels, revelations? Any experience you want to talk about when you quit, or when you didn’t quit and came upon something worthwhile? Heard of Elizabeth Gilbert? What are your thoughts on her?