Keep on creating – lessons from the masters 2 – Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book / movie Eat Pray Love, has always been a fascinating speaker to me.

For Elizabeth Gilbert, the success of Eat Pray Love meant a form of failure.  Her next book completely bombed because everyone who wanted a sequel to Eat Pray Love didn’t get it, and everyone who hated Eat Pray Love was annoyed that she had written another book.

But what could she do about that?  Nothing.

So she says she had a choice – to retire and move to some gorgeous villa, or to keep writing and see if she couldn’t succeed/fail again.  If she was going to avoid being paralysed as a writer and a human being, she had to get up and get started on her next book.

TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert: 'Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating'


In the first TED talk I saw her give, ‘Your elusive creative genius’, she spoke of inspiration and ‘the muse’ – where we get our creative ideas from, and where to look when we run out of ideas. (

TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert: 'Your elusive creative genius'

Author Elizabeth Gilbert

I just watched the one she gave more recently: ‘Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating’, and loved it. (

TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert: 'Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating'

Her main point in this one was that succeed or fail, you have to keep creating.  You will never succeed if you don’t take that risk that you’re going to fail again.

I had another break at the start of this year, as you can see from my lack of recent posts.  I wrote like crazy in November’s NaNoWriMo competition, then spent December to May planning my wedding to my new husband, the kindest engineer ever.  And now what?  Exactly – back to it.

I’m reworking and rewriting some old stories I wrote in high school to see if I can enter them in the State Library of Queensland’s Young Writer Award contest.  Another example of incubation – some of these stories are about 8 years old!

So get back to it, folks.  Whether success or failure awaits, you know you want to. 🙂


This post was written by TJ Withers-Ryan © 2014. Reblogging is highly encouraged as long as you credit me as the author.

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