How to Not Kill Yourself and Still Be a Writer


In February 2009, writer Elizabeth Gilbert gave a funny, inspiring talk at the TED conference in California. In her talk, Gilbert reflects on her experience after writing the hit memoir "Eat, Pray, Love" and what happened afterwards -- how everyone expected her to fail at her next project (or at least not duplicate that success). She talks about how everyone seems to assume that writers will be tortured, blocked, or otherwise mentally disturbed...and how she vehemently disagrees with this presumption, despite having a fair amount of natural anxiety.

Discussed: fear of rejection, fear of failure, the "scrap-heap of broken dreams," "Yes, I'm afraid of all those things," fear of seaweed "and other things that are scary," how creative endeavors make others concerned about your mental health, Gilbert's father the chemical engineer (who never suffered from "Chemical Engineer's Block"), the death count of creative minds in the twentieth century, Norman Mailer, what if my greatest success is behind me?, drinking gin at 9am, creativity coming from outside or inside, the Greeks and Romans, genius, Dobby the House Elf, and much, much more.

Summary: smart, honest, funny, awesome. If you do creative work or aspire to do it, you need to carve out twenty minutes and watch this talk.

If you have a good connection, I also recommend the high-resolution MP4 version of the video.