Listening to My Broccoli


From Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD:

It [listening to your broccoli] means, of course, that when you don’t know what to do,
when you don’t know whether your character would do this or that, you get quiet
and try to hear that still small voice inside.  It will tell you what to do.  The problem is
that so many of us lost access to our broccoli when we were children.  When we
listened to our intuition when we were small and then told the grown-ups what we
believed to be true, we were often either corrected, ridiculed, or punished.  
God forbid you should have your own opinions or perceptions — better to have head lice.

I realized yesterday that I am, indeed, listening to my broccoli.
I don’t yet have an entire first chapter of my new project,
but I’m taking my time with what I have written and, so far, love it.

Every book I’ve written has followed a different process,
and I’m hoping this one will be slow, steady, and broccoli-guided.

                                                image from

And it just so happens broccoli is my favorite vegetable.

26 thoughts on “Listening to My Broccoli

  1. When I was a kid I hated broccoli. Now it’s my favorite vegetable. As for listening to it, I try. Writing fiction (good fictin) can’t be rushed.
    Have a good broccoli-filled day.


    • I don’t remember a lot of broccoli when I was younger but from about 18 yrs-old on, I loved it. I think it’s cool it went from most-despised to most-loved vegetable for you.

      I did have a good broccoli-filled day, and hope you had the same as you created your good fiction.


  2. Um, can I borrow your bunch of broccoli? (Mine hasn’t been as forthcoming as I would hope.) 😉

    So glad to hear you’re following your heart with your new project, Tracy.


    • I don’t know if you want to listen to my broccoli, Lorraine. You’ve got your own broccoli, don’t forget it. Be very quiet and you’ll hear its whispers.

      Thank you for the kind words about my project, and know I send the same good thoughts your way…


  3. YAY! A new project. I like the sound of that. And it just so happens I LOVE broccoli. Loved it as a kid and love it now. I will fix a big plate of it–just it–and eat it for dinner. I also love Bird by Bird. Great writerly advice.


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