Over 500 pages written, pored over, worried over, improved, cut in half, re-arranged, loved … and I wanted to just throw it all away.
Don’t get me wrong, writing my forthcoming book, Feminine Genius: The Provocative Path to Waking Up and Turning On the Wisdom of Being a Woman, was mostly euphoric.
I wrote like a woman moves through her day, circling, spiraling, undulating, advancing, retreating, and occasionally breaking out into song.
I wrote like a meditation, a prayer. I wrote as the last snowflakes fell on the cold ground of winter. I wrote as the first unapologetic blossoms of spring burst on the scene. I wrote wearing a thin mini dress, trying to beat the smothering summer heat.
It was all a euphoric honor, a hard but rewarding creative supernova experience … Until … Editing.
My editor was kind and shrewd, discerning and experienced. A consummate expert. She ripped my tender pages and reorganized them so I could no longer tell what the hell I was trying to say.
She cut out my favorite stories – stories that reached out off the page to tongue-kiss you – and urged me to head back to my client files and personal journals to add better ones. She questioned my concepts, scrutinized my theories, and examined my exercises.
With my editor’s chopping and nipping and questioning, I started to doubt.
Is this book any good? Is it trite and tired? Should I follow her advice? What the heck do I know about editing a freakin’ book?
Demons curled out from the sides of the pages and slithered over my keyboard. They shook the windowpanes with their howling and it became so noisy I couldn’t hear my inner knowing – that still, quiet, but sure voice that always knows whether to go left or right, stay or go, cut that section or keep it.
I was miserable, while editing a book about reasonless joy.
My inner voice was mute, while editing a book about finding and listening to your inner voice.
I was stuck behind a computer screen, while editing a book about being in your body.
I stared at the editing task ahead, calculated how many hours it would take me to incorporate all my editor’s suggestions, and ended up with a number close to five billion.
And then I closed my eyes, prayed to the great Feminine Genius in the sky, and visualized in the manner of all great and virtuous visualizers … of throwing it all in the trash.
I mean I’m the one who decided to write the damn thing in the first place, no one said I had to finish it if it was making me miserable.
I had vowed to myself to write the book with the same juju that the book would help women find in themselves – embodied delight, deep inner knowing, rooted confidence.
So if I had to choose between keeping that vow to myself and keeping to an editing deadline, I would choose myself, and myself would choose to throw the damn book in the trash.
But. I didn’t. And here’s why.
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