Last week, I whizzed through the audiobook of Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic in two days. Granted, it was only 4 CDs, but still. I couldn't get enough. I feel as though Gilbert is a very polarizing author. I know some people who were utterly disappointed with Eat Pray Love and some who have read every single one of her books and think she is magical. I am in the latter camp. So I was essentially predisposed to love Big Magic, but I also didn't want a wishy-washy, self-help book filled with stupid cliches about following your dreams. Thankfully, that was not at all what I got.
Big Magic really got me thinking more deeply about my writing. About what I am willing to sacrifice to pursue my craft. About what my motivations are for writing. But mostly, about what is keeping me back from really, truly writing (as opposed to blogging). I started this blog almost seven years ago. SEVEN YEARS. It has served me well. It has been my outlet to document my life's beautiful journey. It has been an easy way to keep writing with limited time and energy. But I also wonder if it has held me back. I've spent seven years of my life writing for an audience. Writing in one style and one tone of voice. I have spent seven years writing in a format that is sustained by the validation of others. And that just seems like a recipe for disaster. I don't feel that my writing has improved in those seven years and I don't think this format has allowed me to grow or be challenged. I don't want to sound ungrateful or that I don't still enjoy blogging, because I really and truly do. But I do wonder if I need to explore other avenues to pursue my passion and live out my most creative life.
I haven't yet arrived at a conclusion. I have thought about journaling more. I have a journal that hasn't been touched in years. I've thought about writing letters. Perhaps a goal to write a letter to a person in my life every week. Some letters, I would send. Some I might seal in an envelope and never look at again. Of all the ideas I've tossed around in my mind, the recurring theme is this- I need to write for myself. I need to write with discipline. And I need to write without the expectation of feedback. I don't want the opinions of others (good and bad) to sway the direction my writing takes or determine who I am as a writer. In her book, Gilbert makes the stinction between pursuing creative endeavors fearlessly versus bravely. It would be impossible for me to approach writing without fear. Fear that my writing is just plain bad. Fear that other people won't like it. Fear that I have nothing original to say. There are a million and one things to feel scared and vulnerable about. But I want to be brave.
I want to write because I need to.
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What are your thoughts on writing vs. blogging? Do you have any ideas on how I can start writing outside of the blogosphere?