For 187 weeks, Eat, Pray, Love remained on The New York Time’s best seller list, sold over 100 million copies which put Elizabeth Gilbert on the map. She became a mega star. Later that book became a movie starring Julie Roberts.
Gilbert’s follow-up book, Committed, spent 57 weeks #1 on The New York Time’s best seller list.
But it wasn’t on as long as her previous work.
Her most recent work, Big Magic, spent even less time on the list.
So, what is going on here? Is Gilbert’s work getting worse? Could it be that here best work is already behind her, that she will never achieve anything as great as Eat, Pray, Love?
While it is possible that none of her work will ever be as popular as Eat, Pray, Love, I think that her best work is still yet to be done.
Because popular is not the same as important. Taking a position that isn’t popular is how you make change happen. Changing a small group of people, making them better is how you bend the culture.
We spend far too much time thinking about writing the next Eat, Pray, Love instead of writing something that is going to touch someone. We spend too much time thinking about what will someone think about our work, rather than working for the one.
There is no way that The New York Time’s editors has the capacity to read every book in the world. It is just a list that someone made up. Often, rigged by publishers just to get their author noticed.
Forget the list. The list brings nothing but heart ache. It’s a trap for comparison. It invites Resistance.
Write (or compose or paint or market or lead) with purpose. Write because you must.