Sunday, September 16, 2012

Write According To Your Genius

Henry David Thoreau
I read something yesterday while doing research for my website about journaling that really struck a chord with me. I will share it with you. 

This is a quote from Henry David Thoreau,  a writer that I greatly admire: 

"Say the thing with which you labor--it is a waste of time for the writer to use his talents merely. Be faithful to your genius ---Write in the strain that interests you most---Consult not the popular taste."
I admit that I struggle a lot with deciding how much to write for the public, the views, and how much to write for myself and for what interests me. 

According to Thoreau, we should write according to our "genius," and what interests us. Henry David Thoreau was not much of a "winner" in the eyes of his peers. He struggled to get his writing recognized, was delinquent in his taxes, and lived in a cabin. 

That was just as weird then, and it would be now. But his writing is beautiful, and I am very inspired by Henry David Thoreau, who wanted to "live deliberately."

Can we do that? Write according to our genius, no matter what the cost? Thoreau's work never took off until many, many years after his death. His words were memorialized for movie goers in the movie, Dead Poets Society, for a new generation. 

How much am I willing to write from the heart, and go with what I feel my purpose is, rather than focus on what I think people think I should write about? I ask myself that question today. I think it's a good question to ask!

Love Sharilee. 

If you are interested in more quotes about journaling, check out this great list of quotes about journaling

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  1. Thoreau was born in the wrong era; he was a genius who should have been walking the Earth during the 1960's.....I love his readings and it was nice to see you quote, what is the answer to your own question?

  2. Holland1145, I completely agree. And the sixties is when he became popular. I love his Walden, too, and have always been inspired by him. And you ask a very good question! I want to write according to my purpose, and let go of what I "should" write about. I often hear an invisible editor critiquing my choice of topics, etc, but I want to let that go, and write according to what I feel I am meant to write, even if, I guess, it doesn't always become popular! :)

  3. "Live Deliberately" That needs to go in a frame!

    You write so well, I'm jealous. English was my #1 HATED subject in school (ugh). I wish I had paid attention! I don't think you (& many of us) will never feel "complete" within ourselves if we don't write (live, say, work, etc.) what we feel we are meant to. I say go for it! And in doing so, you'll inspire others to do the same.

    Personally, I think it's all in the "spirit" of how it is done.

  4. Well, as you've noticed from my recent blog change - I decided to write from the heart instead of for the public. I think the words have more meaning to both us and the public when we put our passion behind it.

  5. Truly interesting. Words to live by. We should all write according to our own genius. It just goes to show that some of us hit it lucky while others don't become known until years after our death. But it doesn't make any one of us lesser than the other.

  6. Lucy, isn't that a wonderful quote? It does deserve a frame -- I agree. And yes, expressing what is in our heart, mind and soul is something that presses on us, I think, as writers or just as people, too, as you allude to. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment and your kind compliments. Have a great day!

  7. Joanna, I am so glad you replied because I thought of you after I had read your blog post, and hoped you would read this. Your blog post was a really good example of writing according to your passion, and I think it will pay off in the end. Take care!

  8. Jennifer, so true! It takes courage to measure ourselves to a different standard than immediate worldly successs. Thanks so much for coming by!


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