Elizabeth Gilbert Saves My Soul (or something slightly less dramatic but no less important)

This is why I love the internet.

Stella heard my cry of help and left the *PERFECT* link in my comments.

I'm sharing it with you, because pretty much everyone expressed concern about the Second Novel Curse. (See? NO ONE can escape!!) It's a talk from Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm not sure how you feel about her — I adore her, but I know many resent her for having the time and money to do what she did, when most of us cannot (I understand this reaction, too) — but I think/hope those of you struggling with the creative process will find something of value in this video.

[In case you're unfamiliar with Elizabeth Gilbert, she wrote Eat Pray Love, a mega-huge bestseller about going through an ugly divorce and finding peace with herself again in Italy (eating), India (praying), and Bali (falling in love). I loved it, and I've read it a few times.]

I cried through at least half of her lecture. It was exactly what I needed to hear. A life-changing, light bulb moment. Thank you, Stella, for looking out for me. I wish I could bake you cookies or give you a bear hug or wash your laundry for a year.

If you're reading this on an RSS reader, you might have to come to my actual blog to watch this. If you still can't see it, you can watch it here.

I hope any writer struggling (and suffering) right now will watch it this week. And I hope you'll find comfort in it, like I did.

More comments stuff . . .

Amber asked: Oh, and I wanted to say that I have a new actor crush. The hottest guy out there on TV? The one who makes ME swoon (which has never happened before)? Rupert Penry-Jones. *swoon* *fans self* Did you see him in The 39 Steps? OMG.

Rupert? Who is this Rupert you speak of? Surely you mean . . .


You MUST watch Persuasion (2007). And I'll watch The 39 Steps. And then we'll come back here, and we'll be like: "OMGGGGG RUUUUPEEERRRT SOOOO DREAAAMMY!!!"

Jessie asked: Is Anna your very FIRST book written ever? Or do you have another (or others) 'under the bed'?

Yes and no. Anna is the first book I finished, and the first book I showed to people and tried to sell. But Lola is technically my first book! Which adds a lovely complication to our history. Lola and I are about to have our TEN YEAR anniversary this autumn. Pretty frightening.

I never made it far with her, and she used to be veryveryvery different (adult, for one thing). I set her aside when, well, I had to. But shortly after, I had my wondrous Anna dream! I launched into writing her story one week later.

(An excellent career move, if I say so myself.)

I credit that old, ugly, never-ending, never-finished version of Lola with teaching me how to write. Old Lola prepared me for Anna. And everything about new Lola has changed, with the exception of the setting and the characters. They wouldn't leave me alone! It was an exciting moment while working on Anna when I realized the books had a connection. I was THRILLED to know these characters I loved were still salvageable, that I could still tell their story!

Even if their story had changed. Drastically.

In other words, there's nothing under my bed except for dog fur and a large Rubbermaid container of shoes. Unless you count old Lola. Which you probably should.

Terresa asked: Your first book (and cover) sound divine. Have you sold the movie rights yet? I can see it in lights already...

Thank you!! And sadly, no. Wouldn't that be cool? I hope it happens someday!

I'm burrowing into a hole this week to work, so if you don't see me around much, that's why.


Thanks to Stella and Elizabeth, I feel the beautiful, wistful brush of hope again.


  1. Oh, yes, I've seen him in Persuasion...but in the 39 Steps...OMG. I mean, he's the main character, so you see him ALL the way through. And...well, I won't spoil it for you.

  2. It's funny that you say to watch Persuasion because I watched both that and Northanger Abbey yesterday night. I am also a fan of JJ Fields.


  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this clip.

  4. Okay, now I want to watch Persuasion. I'm adding it to my Netflix list immediately.
    Oh, and I want to live in a hole like that. Do you lease it out? Book me for the next free week!

  5. I watched the clip after you tweeted it, I loved it. I have no idea what 39 Steps is but I did find him very handsome in the 2007 Persuasion.

  6. Totally preordered your book yesterday. And I never preorder anything other than Sims games. =)

  7. I really needed that clip today. Thanks for posting.

  8. Also since I know how much you love Phoenix I needed to share this with you.

    It reminds me of the documentary Young at Heart, except they really are young.

  9. *goes to watch Persuasion, wondering why she hasn't seen it already*

  10. I've never HEARD of the 39 Steps. *to Netflix she goes* -- and you MUST KNOW that he is one of the stars (along with Matthew MacFadyen, though not concurrently) of the British spy show Spooks, called MI5 to we Yanks. He's AWESOME.


    (And the Elizabeth Gilbert lecture was awesome too. My genius is being lazy today. I'm going to have to leave out cupcakes to get her back on track!)

  11. I loved Elizabeth Gilbert's lecture, especially the part about the poet running for a paper and pencil before the poem hit her. I've never had one come out backwards before though. :)

    I may have to get my hands on Persuasion. I love the book. And I just took North and South back to the library.

  12. I loved that video so much I posted it up on my blog (and linked to you and Stella). So awesome!

  13. I remember watching that video about a year ago for the first time and sobbing through it. I have watched it at least five times since and it always affects me.

    Love it!

    And I LOVE the hole :-)

  14. Ole to you for posting this video! Love.

  15. I love hear Elizabeth Gilbert talk about writing. I heard this a while back. It totally made me cry and say, "That's it exactly!"

    Have a great week burrowing.

  16. Okay, Steph,
    something weird is happening. Blogger ate my post again.

    I want a week in the hole!

    Loved the clip. She is so awesome.

    Thanks for posting.

  17. Anonymous3:10 PM GMT-5

    Oh, Rupert...I'm so glad others recognize his beauty. I don't know how many times I've said his name and heard, "A rupert what?" :-|

    Heart you, Steph

  18. Wow, that video was perfect.

  19. Amazing video, thanks for posting. Interesting-- "oh allah" also became "ojal√° que..." which means "I hope" or "God willing." *ponders*

  20. Seriously amazing. Thanks so much for posting this, Stephanie!

  21. It's encouraging to know that your first book didn't really die. I like my first book a lot, but I realize that most first books don't get published. So maybe there is hope in the end. Except my first book is about the world ending in 2012. I'm not sure I'll even finish it by then. Clock is ticking...

  22. Ole'! Thanks for a great post, really needed that! Delightful blog, I am now an obedient follower ;)

  23. I finally had time to watch the Elizabeth Gilbert video, and I JUST LOVED IT.

    Thanks for posting it.

    It will help me many times in the future, I already know.


  24. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this clip.
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