I’ve been doing a lot of editing lately, of my own work, not of others’. I am preparing a book of short stories for publication, I’m preparing a book of transcripts of my podcast, and I am also working through the first draft of my new novel and making it stronger and better.
I don’t really like editing, going back over my work, figuring out what to cut out and what to leave in, changing this, adding new things here, removing whole paragraphs there. I would like everything I write to be perfect the first time. To make a decision and for that to be absolutely the best one. To not have to change anything.
Ridiculous, right? Writing doesn’t work that way (oh the irony, I had to rewrite this very sentence). Everyone’s first draft is messy.
My devotion today asked, ‘If your life was a book, what would you need to edit?’
When I think about the themes I want my life to convey, the story I want to tell, are there things I need to cut out, or things I need to add to communicate that story better? Are there decisions I made that were right at the time but that need to change now? Are there hangovers I’m holding on to because I really loved them five or ten years ago but they don’t apply to my life now?
One of the big editing tips in writing is, ‘kill your darlings.’ In writing our novels we often love certain scenes, conversations, or even characters. They are our darlings. But the truth of the matter may be that those things are weaknesses in the overall tale, they need to go, they need to be cut out.
I’m wondering if there are ‘darlings’ in my life that I’m hanging on to that are making me weaker. Attitudes or decisions, or even material goods or activities that need to go now to bring the story of my life to a stronger place.
Is it the same for you?
Often authors can’t see for ourselves what these things are. That’s why it is so important to employ an editor to look over our work. The editor is not emotionally involved in the situation and can be a bit more ruthless when it comes to cutting out deadwood. Sometimes it can be difficult to hear the editor’s advice. But you know that they are working with you towards the same goal – a stronger piece of work, better able to convey the story, the theme.
And the same applies to our lives. Sometimes it is helpful to have a mentor or a coach, or a good friend, who can help you look over your life and see where things could change to make you stronger.
If you think of your life as a book, what is the story you are telling? And is there editing that needs to happen to make your life tell its important tale in a stronger way? Do you have an ‘editor’ that can help you make the hard decisions?
Are you missing some of my blog posts? They come out every Monday. Sign up to follow the A Quiet Life blog on WordPress, or you can sign up to my newsletter on www.ruthamos.com.au and you will receive every post straight to your email inbox. You will also find my podcast, my book ‘My Year of Saying No’, and any short stories or other books will be up there as they come along.
If you would like to support this blog and the podcast then you can head over to Patreon.com/quietlife and help me out for as little as a dollar a month. Thank you so much!