Creative's Workshop 2020

Failing Miserably, Achieving Greatly

The only place you can go when you reach your lowest, is up.

6. Agents and Writing

Liz Gilbert on writing:

  1. Tell your story TO someone. Pick one person you love or admire or want to connect with, and write the whole thing directly to them —like you’re writing a letter. This will bring forth your natural voice. Whatever you do, do NOT write to a demographic. Ugh.

  2. Start at the beginning of the story, write what happened, and keep going until you get to the end.

  3. Use radically simple sentences.

  4. Don’t worry if it’s good; just finish it. Whether or not your project is good, you’ll be a different person at the end of it, and that’s always worth doing.

  5. Don’t write with the aim of changing anybody’s life. That will lead to heavy, irritating prose. Just share what delights or enrages or fascinates you. If somebody’s life is changed by it, that’s a bonus.

  6. Whenever you can, tell stories instead of explaining stuff. Humans love stories, and we hate having stuff explained to us. Use Jesus as an example: He spoke almost exclusively in parables, and allowed everybody to draw their own lessons from his great storytelling. And he did very well.

  7. Your work doesn’t have to be any particular length, or written for any particular market. It doesn’t have to even be seen by another human being. How and if to publish your work is a problem for another day. For today, just write.

  8. Remember that you’ve been doing research your whole life, merely by existing. You are the only expert in your own experience. Embrace this as your supreme qualification.

  9. Every writer starts in the same place on Day One: Super excited, and ready for greatness. On Day Two, every writer looks at what she wrote on Day One and hates herself. What separates working writers from non-working writers is that working writers return to their task on Day Three. What gets you there is not pride but mercy. Show yourself forgiveness, for not being good enough. Then keep going

  10. Be willing to let it be easy. You might be surprised. :heart:LG

Prompt: So where are you stuck? Two incredibly successful and generous teachers have just laid out how to get your craft from where it is to where you need it to go. Which part caused a strain or touched your heart?

“There’s no way I’m going to cry during a writing meetup, how silly.”

Those were my famous last words before I cried during a writing meetup, twice even!

Being excessively busy with trying to figure out emerging adulthood, I never really had a chance to stop and think about whether or not I was traversing towards the goals I wanted in life. When I had the chance opportunity to drop by an established online writing group, the first prompt completely caught me off guard.

“In 5 minutes, using only verbs and adjectives, how would you describe yourself?”

Letting the words flood the page, I stopped at the 5 minute mark and stared in completely shock at the aftermath of my brainstorm. The person I described myself to be, was nothing like the person I wanted to become nor the cheerful and pleasant persona others identified me as. Panic might have been the first emotion I could remember, because just the sheer amount of detetable and odious things I wrote about myself petrified me. Where the :dolphin: did all these emotions come from? Where was it all going wrong? Have I just been a fraud and a liar this whole time? What… is going to become of me?

Fast forward to next week’s writing meetup and I get another innocuous writing prompt that unraveled more of the self I was neglecting.

“In 5 minutes, try to describe the first memory you can recall. Not in words, but just in feelings alone.”

To be blunt, I can barely recall anything before my first year in the corporate world. What I originally shrugged off as something unimportant, made me slowly start to realize that I was oppressing something. But I had an amazing childhood free of dilemmas, what traumatic events could I possibly be running from?

And therein lies the issue.

Trying my absolute best to recall something from my past, I began to realize that I used to be… happy. All the earliest memories of my childhood felt simple, carefree, warm, and if I were to use a color to contain all these feelings, I would describe it as yellow. The further along the memories I traversed, the more of these childhood feelings began to fade away. A once prominent bright yellow began to lose it flare and slowly start to drip into sadder and sadder colors, transitioning from blue and eventually into gray, truly falling into the trope when something loses color in this world, it loses meaning. When I really paused to reflect on my mental recollection, I remembered last week’s prompt, and suddenly it all clicked.

I began to hate myself because I never allowed myself to fail, and became a miserable self-indulgent wreck because of it.

My childhood never challenged me, my parents said I was amazing, and whenever ANYTHING put me out of my comfort zone, I would immediately scurry back into a place where everything was okay. The more I ran from the chances to try something new and possibly fail, the more I began to miss out on life, and the more I began to feel empty inside. The worst part was, I didn’t even REALIZE I felt this way. Not until I took a deep breath and finally had a chance to take stock of what was silently falling apart around me.

With this new insight unlocked, a new color began to shine within me. White, a color as pure as snow, untainted when freshly formed, exceedingly unique in every flake, and beautiful in its own rite after travelers make their difficult journeys across it. I had a new mission and was DETERMINED now to see it through, which was to try everything, be okay with failing miserably, and achieving greatly no matter what the outcome was. I pressed the purple button on this workshop on a complete whim, and I’m glad I gave myself the chance to see if it was really worth it.


Dialogue & Discussion