Shelly Oria Recommends...

“Show up: at your desk, on the page. Show up often, show up with an open heart, show up all hardcore and ready to work. But when you don’t show up, when it’s been days and weeks and months and you haven’t shown up, take a bath. By which I mean: be kind, be gentle. Whatever you do, don’t be an asshole to yourself. Screaming at yourself will—at best—carry you through an hour, a day of work. Ultimately, artistic journeys are about truth and self-discovery, and we can’t be truthful or discover ourselves when someone is yelling at us, even if (or especially if) the yelling is taking place inside our own heads. But here’s the thing: We all live with an inner asshole and he isn’t going anywhere. Which means, we kind of have to learn how to become best friends. Take your inner asshole out on a date. Go to your favorite gallery, spend two hours at a coffee shop with a book, visit a spa—whichever act of kindness can shock your system. When the date is over, ask, Hey, what do you need? Say, I’m trying to write this story, this essay, this novel; is there anything I can do that would make it possible to work tomorrow morning? Ask, how can we do this together? When we’re truly kind, something shifts in us.”
—Shelly Oria, author of New York 1, Tel Aviv 0 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014)