When I shared the first draft of my book manuscript with two writer friends, they suggested big changes.
One suggested I change it one way. The other suggested another completely different overhaul. I was thrown.
Did they hate it?
Did they hate me?
Was my book a piece of crap?
Was I a piece of crap?
Had I been wasting my life?
I remembered how a therapist once told me I needed to get quiet so I could hear my intuition. That’s how we know what life is telling us: by getting quiet.
Not I’m-so-pissed-off-I’m-shutting-down quiet. But I’m-watching-the-clouds-roll-by quiet.
So, I sat back and watched my mind spin fearful worries, justifications, and explanations. I got quiet, watched it all like the weather.
I tried to remember that, as William Kenower says, “The world does not want you to fail. The world is forever supplying you with the information you need to do exactly what you want …Do not fear the information. It is always friendly.”
And then one day, in the calm after the storm, I faced my manuscript—and it was perfectly clear what needed to be done.
I followed the advice of one of my friends and sliced out one-third of the manuscript. It was like pulling weeds. What remained, blossomed.
The other advice, which had involved structural changes, I now knew not to be true to my vision. Still, I was grateful she spent her living time on my book.
And she had been helpful. Because knowing what I don’t want helps me get clearer about what I do want.
The trick, though, is to not linger in the unwanted.
Instead, get quiet and listen. Then use what you learn to springboard you in the most helpful direction—which is forward.
Author: Kate Evans
Editor: Renee Jahnke