A little passion here, a little curiosity there

November 6, 2010

What happens when you no longer feel inspired to “follow your bliss”?

Trying following your curiosity.

That’s the advice recommended by author Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert penned an article for this month’s edition of O, The Oprah Magazine, in which she describes how she revived her passion for writing by detouring into a field she knew little about: gardening.

Gilbert admits that, after the success of her best-selling book, Eat, Pray, Love, she started working on another work — but she had lost the fire she felt when she was writing her first book. After finishing the first draft, she said she knew it was awful, but, she didn’t know how to fix it.

Then her friend Sarah advised her to put her writing on hold and focus instead on following her curiosity.

That led Gilbert to gardening. After six months of “absentmindedly digging in the dirt,” Gilbert said, she suddenly knew how to fix the final version of her new book, Committed.

Gilbert describes her curiosity-induced detour as the “roundabout magic” she needed to reignite her passion for writing.

I think that’s good advice — even if we’re not wordsmiths with a case of writer’s block.



  1. I think Gilbert’s advice is spot on. I don’t think she will ever follow-up the blazing success of “Eat, Pray, Love.” (In fact, the book was so over-hyped that I was underwhelmed by it, sadly.)

    In any event, she did the right thing by taking a creative detour. It always works for me … whenever I feel burned out in one area (writing), it helps to do something totally different, something physical, like cooking, cleaning, sorting through my art materials. The shift gets the other part of the brain going!

    Gilbert is a shrewd marketeer — gotta give her that! She parlayed her new marriage after “Eat, Pray, Love” into a 2nd book about commitment (sort of ironic, given the premise of the first book). I predict that she will end up divorcing husband #2 (current husband) and then write a book about “spiritual divorce.” 🙂

    • Cindy, I agree that switching modes helps me, too. If I’ve been running around the house cleaning, then I really enjoy sitting for a while and reading blogs or articles I’ve clipped. And if I’ve been writing or reading, then I find it easy to follow author Dan Brown’s suggestion of getting on the floor and doing 10 sit-ups or push-ups. The change of pace works wonders. Getting outside to walk is even more refreshing!

  2. I have actually read “Committed” and was surprised by how much I got out of it. The story of how she backed into marriage is ironic. The history of our Western idea of marriage is fascinating. I will look for this article in “O” next time I’m in a bookstore.

    Cindy, I wanted to thank you for your kind comment about my photos. It’s a hobby, one I’ve had since I was a child. I am the family archivist and since the kids are mostly away I now take more photos of nature and our cat *wink.

    • Sharon, thanks for your thoughts here.

      And you’re quite welcome about the remark on your photos. I really like seeing your photos, and how you use them to show what you’re doing day to day!

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