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One of the most challenging parts of writing a book is the editing process. Gathering notes, ideas, and stories is kind of fun, especially when you just throw them on a page with no worries about order or chapters.
But when it comes time to sort through those pages and decide what stays and what goes, it can be overwhelming and daunting.
Maybe what you’ve captured isn’t as good as you thought.
Maybe you love how this paragraph reads but it doesn’t fit into this particular book.
Maybe you’re unsure if a reader will understand what you’re trying to convey through this particular story.
It’s tempting to just close the document and walk away. It’s too hard to sort through everything.
But it must be done. You have to pare things down and leave only the best, most impactful bits.
Now think of this book as your life. What and who have you collected over the years? Are they still a fit for the life you want to live?
Do those clothes you hope to fit into again someday make you feel shitty every time you see them in your closet?
Does that nagging voice in your head keep telling you that you don’t have what it takes to make your dreams a reality?
Do the unread books on your shelf taunt you about wasted money? Or maybe they remind you that you have no time to read.
Does your heart drop every time that friend’s name pops up on your phone because you know she’s calling to dump her drama on you?
While it may seem obvious that all of this is clutter that needs to be cleared, it’s not always easy. In fact, it can sometimes feel better to keep things as is.
What if all this noise is keeping you from reaching your potential and therefore saving you from risking failure?
Or what if, with this clutter out of your way, you’re able to fully claim your space in this world, achieving success in any area you dream? What would people think? What more would be expected of you?
Instead of beating yourself up for tolerating less-than-ideal thoughts, things, and people, give yourself some grace and get curious.
How are you benefitting from settling into this draft of your story? What might come with some tidying up?
It can all be a bit scary.
When I was writing my second book, I kept my notes in a disorganized draft for far too long. As I explored what my payout was from doing so, I found that I was protecting myself from the possibility of it not being as well received as my first book.
If I never finished it, it wouldn’t be published and then I could keep swimming in the “someday” possibility that is far more comfortable.
It’s exciting to chase a goal, isn’t it?
And it’s sometimes terrifying to achieve it.
What if what you hoped reaching this milestone would mean falls short? Then what?
Whenever fear arises, I like to play it out. When I do, I find the situation is much less scary than the stories I’m telling myself.
So instead of berating myself for procrastinating, I acknowledged my fears, talked them through with supportive loved ones, and reminded myself that I am worthy and my work is valuable even if it doesn’t hit the bestseller list.
The more I focused on editing my negative thoughts, the sooner I was able to finish my manuscript.
This week, I challenge you to make a list of areas of your life that could use some editing.
- Your self talk
- Your friendships
- Your small, kitchen appliances
- Your diet
- Your limiting beliefs
Then, come up with one small step you could take to make some progress on one area.
This might be:
- Looking in the mirror and complimenting yourself on something you see
- Taking some time before responding to texts or voice mails, particularly from Debbie Downer
- Pulling out all of your small appliances and putting them on the counter so you can see what you have
- Choosing nutrient-dense food for one of your meals today
- Celebrating any and all small wins
As you consciously curate your life more and more, you’ll find that you not only breathe easier, but you’ll have more energy and focus for the things and goals that really matter.