Full text of author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ Elizabeth Gilbert on Your Elusive Creative Genius at TED Talks conference.
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I am a writer. Writing books is my profession but it’s more than that, of course. It is also my great lifelong love and fascination. And I don’t expect that that’s ever going to change.
But that said, something kind of peculiar has happened recently in my life and in my career, which has caused me to have to sort of recalibrate my whole relationship with this work. And the peculiar thing is that I recently wrote this book, this memoir called “Eat, Pray, Love” which, decidedly unlike any of my previous books, went out in the world for some reason, and became this big, mega-sensation, international bestseller thing.
The result of which is that everywhere I go now, people treat me like I’m doomed. Seriously — doomed, doomed! Like, they come up to me now, all worried, and they say, “Aren’t you afraid you’re never going to be able to top that? Aren’t you afraid you’re going to keep writing for your whole life and you’re never again going to create a book that anybody in the world cares about at all, ever again?”
So that’s reassuring, you know. But it would be worse, except for that I happen to remember that over 20 years ago, when I first started telling people when I was a teenager that I wanted to be a writer, I was met with this same sort of fear-based reaction.