“Some days are meant to be counted, others are meant to be weighed.”
Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love
It’s hard to pull off a memoir. Rocketing one to the New York Times Best Seller list is even more remarkable. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia demonstrates how being real (and talented) appeals to audiences across genders and generations.
Frankly, I didn’t take a look at this book until after seeing the following TED video (it’s almost 20 minutes long, but well worth the watch):
I was so impressed with the candor, humor and humility of this woman, I felt compelled to go see what the buzz was about (admittedly coming in late as the book was published in 2007) while hopefully learning more about what launched this writer and book into the limelight. The writing tips she offers are direct and also hidden in the copy of this marvelous read.
Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
Of course, as with almost any apparent ‘overnight sensation’ I learned this gal wasn’t. Her prior writing had earned accolades and awards through books and articles written as a journalist. Life experience that served as the content for this curious book wasn’t easy either. What makes it so gripping is each reader can individually relate to her painful personal struggles. Many of the intimate details of her life and head are matters most wouldn’t talk about in private – let alone lay out for all to see in a published treatise. The style is engaging in so many ways.
Gilbert released Committed: A Love Story in 2010. I haven’t read it yet, but will.
When it comes to writing techniques, styles, strategies and outreach approaches, there’s so much to learn from those who have done it well before you. It’s inspiring to read or hear about the thought process of one who has discovered a stride that works for them.
So often I hear someone exclaim “I’ve always wanted to write a book.” Usually the next sentence is “I’ll share the profits if you help me write my autobiography.” Unless you’re famous and/or supported by a talented ghost writer and marketing team, it’s tough to sell this type of book. Gilbert, however, shows how to share life events in a way that works. If you’re serious about publishing your life story, consider reading her books to learn how it’s done artfully.
It’s not just the prose and the story – her insights are powerful lessons most learn the hard way.
In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” – Elizabeth Gilbert