Writing Lessons From Cheryl Strayed’s Wild

I chose to profile memoirist Cheryl Strayed for our recent report, and along the way I found this list of “19 Life Changing Quotes” from her most recent success, Wild. While these quotes were not intended to be about the writing process, I feel that many of them are perfect motivational material. Writing, when done right, is a difficult process, with plenty of second guessing and self-hatred involved. Nonfiction writing can be even more difficult, as writers are forced to live out their experience once more, and find the significance in their pain. It is a solitary journey that we choose to embark on, much like the one Cheryl took when she hiked 1,100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995.

Here are some of my favorites from this list:

1.  I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.

2. There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another.

3. I didn’t know where I was going until I got there.

This last quote I feel really captures the experience of writing memoir and other nonfiction forms. Cheryl’s journey on the trail was a detox of its own, and writing her experiences was another of itself:

It seemed to me the way it must feel to people who cut themselves on purpose. Not pretty, but clean. Not good, but void of regret. I was trying to heal. Trying to get the bad out of my system so I could be good again. To cure me of myself.

You can check the rest of the list out here:


Let me know what your favorite quotes are!

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