Eyes Wide Open
Several days ago I was sitting at my desk as the sun was setting over my shoulder. I tried to ignore the sound I could hear. It repeated over and over, “Who? Who?”
I wondered, who is making that noise? I grabbed my flashlight and walked out in my yard to see the roof on our house. Perched on the top of our chimney was a large desert owl. I called my wife to see it. We watched as I played my flashlight over the owl, then it lifted it’s wings and moved away. If I had ignored the sound, I could have missed an amazing experience.
Isn’t life and in particular the writing life like that? As I have new experiences (and they happen constantly), I can choose to learn from them or ignore them and be doomed to repeat them.
Yesterday I received the edited version of my book manuscript. This morning I’ll be reviewing those edits and answering any questions or clarifications embedded in those questions. It’s part of the drill to get a book ready to go to press. In one sense, I’m grateful to be one step closer to holding the finished book in my hands. In another sense, I’m dreading looking at all of the editor marks changing my copy. When I see those marks today, I face a choice. I can either ignore them and figure someone else will catch them next time I write. Or I could beat myself up about my terrible writer and editor skills and how I should have caught these things in the first place. The negative messages could swirl through my head and beat me down about myself and my writing. These negative thoughts could cripple my ability to write in the future. Or I can choose to learn from the experience, improve my writing and editorial skills for the next time. I choose to learn from the experience of reviewing those edits and improve my writing for the future.
Rejection comes with the territory within publishing. I spent a bit of time yesterday processing manuscripts. Unfortunately there are only a few possible publishing spots and a great deal of material coming across my desk. I was not rejecting the writer. I love how James Scott Bell writes about rejecting rejection.
For me, the world is full of learning and lesson. I’m determined to keep moving ahead with my eyes wide open.