Let Your Mind Gather Some Moss
Longtime readers of these missives tell me that my writing has gotten better, my suggestions are more helpful, and my musings are more interesting and fun to read.
I realized that three things have led to these improvements. First, I have more and more experiences from which to draw upon given my insatiable curiosity about many things, my desire for new experiences, and my frequent travel to out-of-the-way places.
Second, I let my longtime friend Anne Dubuisson, superb writing coach, editor, and publishing consultant convince me I should hire her to give me some help and advice. There’s something about regular support from an exceptional expert who has helped many authors achieve publishing success that improves the product you deliver.
But most importantly, I learned how to think. Or rather, I learned how to control my thinking, to tame the thoughts careening all over the place. I did this by saying no (see last missive: Power Of No), thereby taking charge of my time, and focusing my undivided attention on the most important things for success. Number one most important thing for success: good thinking.
Good thinking turns out to be difficult. It requires concentrated effort to the exclusion of all else. Not an easy feat in today’s world of unending interruptions.
It now takes much more time to write one of these missives than it used to. Thankfully not as long as it took James Joyce to write his masterpiece (again see previous missive: Power Of No) Time to think about what I want to write about. Time to ponder a good quote or some pertinent facts to support my points. Time to write, time to edit. Time to edit again, and perhaps edit again. Time to share thoughts with Anne, and finally, time to read a final version and decide it’s ready to go. And more often than not, time to turn Version Final into Version Final Final before it surges out across the internet. (Even occasionally Version Final Final Final. And thankfully rarely, Version Delete It.)
I used to believe that thinking meant devoting a few seconds to focus my mind on something. Reviewing and editing and getting a second opinion – you must be kidding! What a waste of time. After all, there are a lot of tweets piling up.
In order to succeed, you have to take the time to think. Take the time to think deeply, to massage your thoughts, to add and subtract as you improve your ideas until they’re just right. While great ideas may come quickly to your mind, they bear the most fruit when deeply considered. Stay focused. Refuse to let distractions get in your way and run your life. Let your ideas develop, grow, and gather moss.