Dear Ones –

A few months ago, I noticed that I was becoming irritable and scritchy and judge-y with my friends and family. I was doing a pretty good job keeping my thoughts to myself, but my thoughts were not kind. Nobody was good enough, everyone was annoying, and why can't these people get it together, for chrissake…

Such were my lovely daily thoughts.

When I finally noticed how negative I was becoming, I made myself stop and look around at what was going on in my life that was basically turning me into Mrs. Kravitz.

Then I figured it out: I hadn't written anything for over year — not since completing the final edits on THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS. I had a new idea for a novel in my head, but had zero time to work on it, since I was so busy traveling all over the universe, promoting Alma & Co. Looking ahead into my ongoing busy schedule, I'd decided that probably early 2015 would be a good quiet time to devote myself to working on my new book. And that had been my plan.

Which was crazy, actually, and seemed now to be making me crazy.

I am writer. If I have a story in me that I'm not able to tell, things will start going wrong all over my life. If I have a story in my head and I tell it, "I'll get to you in 2015," that story will start to rebel, start to act out, start to claw at the walls. That's when the shit gets dark in my world.

Because having a creative mind is something like a owning Border Terrier; It needs a job. And if you don't give it a job, it will INVENT a job (which will involve tearing something up.) Which why I have learned over the years that if I am not actively creating something, chances are I am about to start actively destroying something.

And that ain't good.

So I set aside 30 minutes a day — 30 tiny minutes — to devote to my new novel. And I've managed to keep that up for the last four months, even amid all the traveling, all the speaking tours, all the other business.

30 minutes to run my Border Terrier fast and hard, until it quiets down. Surprisingly, it works.

It's amazing how much progress I'm making already. Amazing how much time you DON'T need, to start making something. As John Updike once said, "Some of the best novels ever written were written in an hour a day."

There will come a time (2015!!!!) when I will clear out my schedule and retreat from the world and devote myself completely to the new book, but for now? I am already starting to create it, so it won't start to destroy me.

And immediately, like magic: I've been finding myself acting a lot nicer to my people.

Do you have some unattended creative work inside you, that is causing you agony? (Or even just causing you to act like a bitch?) Listen up: If it needs to be told, it will chafe at you until you let it free. Which is not good for ANYONE.

So start.

You may not think you have the time right now to attend to it.

Make the time.

30 minutes a day.


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall