For those who keep asking me (and I do appreciate your support) where my next blog entry is, this letter serves as an apology. I’m sorry, but my ego is getting in the way. Since this blog is in large part about how our ego sabotages us in the many sneaky ways it does, I thought I would share a bit about my current challenge.
When I posted my first blog last month, which took me, oh, about 2 years to screw up the courage to do, I got a HUGELY positive response. Something like 100 views in the first week and 17 glowing comments. (I know because I checked my stats about every 5 minutes!) At the time, my dear friend JP sent me an email simply saying, “Don’t worry about the next one.”
I knew exactly what he meant. The Ego Equation was in danger of kicking in. Meaning:
Huge Success = Big Fat Ego Boost = Guaranteed Writer’s Block
Which is EXACTLY what happened.
Like Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love (57 weeks on the NY Times Best Seller list, but who’s counting?) I had written what I would consider a runaway success. And like Elizabeth Gilbert, I had come up against the creative void of writing a follow up to that unexpected success. I know this because I heard her talk about it last week at the Marin Civic Center. Of course, she has just completed another book (out in January), which will most likely be a hit, so it’s probably easier for her to talk about now. And I noticed that since she confessed her dilemma at the TED conference which was then broadcast over the internet, she seemed to have opened the floodgates of creativity. So I thought I might try the same.
I am struggling with what to write. I am working on a piece about my visit to San Quentin, which had a tremendous impact on me. But I’m finding it challenging to be witty and funny and insightful when writing about prison. I could also write about my Cross Fit experience (about which I am quoted in this article), but everyone around me is already so sick of hearing me talk about my workout and how much I deadlifted the other day (165#, can you believe it?) I don’t want to repel readers. I also wanted to write about climate change, having seen the movie The Age of Stupid last week, but I’m afraid the film is not very Shell-positive and I don’t want to offend my many Shell friends and clients. But I do want to remind all of us to please make an effort to reduce our carbon footprint by 10% in 2010 or else I’m worried my 7-year old niece will not have any clean water to brush her teeth with when she’s my age.
Now that I have revealed this to you, my dear reader, in order to thumb my nose at my ego, I am hoping the creative muse will once again fill me with inspiration. And at the very least, it will get those of you who keep asking about my next blog off my back for a couple of weeks.
I will leave you with this touching story, which made me cry when I heard it:
Elizabeth Gilbert spent nine months writing the first draft of her latest novel. When it was complete, she read the opening paragraph and realized it was crap. She then took the bold step of calling her publisher (who had already given her a big advance) and telling her it was un-publishable. She decided to take a break from writing and learn to garden. She spent the summer engrossed in planting and growing vegetables. When the weather started to turn, as she was pulling up the last of the tomatoes, seemingly out of nowhere, the first line of the book came to her…
Can’t you almost see her? Hands deep in the moist brown soil, head cocked to one side, a slight breeze blowing her willowy blonde hair, as the creative genius whispers insightful and humorous lines into her ear?
My garden today is this blog… After delving deep into my psyche and pouring my heart out to you, let’s hope I have similar results… May the muse be with you!