Showing Up: What Elizabeth Gilbert Taught Me About Writing

by Nicole Trilivas

I’m one of those kids who loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. I read it before all the hoopla spread and I’m really glad to have had none of the hype influence my reading–in case it changed the experience for me. I’m also a fan of Liz Gilbert the person. She just seems like such a down chick. I wish I knew her in real life so that we could be besties.

Anyway, have you seen her Ted Talk on creativity? If not, watch it immediately. 

For me, the greatest take-away from that talk was the idea of showing up. It’s your job as the artist to show up and do the work. It’s not your job to be constantly inspired. It’s not your job to judge your work. It’s not your job to think about your work (when you’re supposed to working). The only job that is yours is to sit your butt in that chair and write those words. That is it. It’s sort of like the literary version of Just Do It.

As I’m working on a new draft of something right now, those words are so powerful to me. Because every artist goes through that stage where they think their work sucks. But it’s not our damn job to decided. Your job is to get the work done. That’s it.

Now get back to work. You’ll figure it out.