Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind... if you remain true to them, your world will at last be built.
The thoughtless, the ignorant, the lazy... talk of luck, of fortune.. Seeing someone grow rich, they say, "How lucky they are!" They do not see the trials and failures and struggles that these men and women have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; they have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made... the faith they have exercised.. that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable and realize the vision of their heart.
The vision you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart - this you will build your life by, and this you will become." - As You Think by James Allen
My first editor has finished my book.
I was expecting a somewhat harsh and strong critique, tearing the story apart and possibly telling me I've been deceiving myself if I was thinking it was "good enough" for publishing. What I received was a different story altogether.
"I just finished reading your book and it is beautifully writen. I enjoyed it immensely and I thank you for the opportunity to read it. I have read a number of published books that can't begin to hold a candle to it!"
I was shocked. Despite believing in my book and is't message with all my heart, I suppose I've been protecting myself from the heartbreaking blow of possible failure by ... expecting it.
Earlier today, I was discussing this with my father, telling him, "It's great news, but she's only the first out of three editors. The next person I'm sending it to is a middle-aged man who's a lawyer with a journalism degree and is pretty straight-forward. He's less likely to connect with the emotional, "follow your destiny" bit and therefore will possibly give me a harsher edit. Which is great, I want this book to have the best opportunity it can! The more edits, the better."
What my Dad said next will stay with me for the rest of my life.
"Jillian, I'm going to tell you a story. When I was younger, I bought a Camaro that needed to be fixed up. I spent all my time and money on this car, trying to make it look and run the best it possibly could. But because of the perfectionist in me, much of which I see in you, daughter, I didn't stop when it was at it's best. I kept tearing it apart and making adjustment after adjustment after adjustment, always feeling like it could be "better" in some way... until I ruined whatever part I was "perfecting". Then I had to send it off for someone else to fix, often getting it back in worse condition than if I would have stopped when it really was "good enough". You've worked on this book for years now and you have people who support you all over the world. You are a beautiful writer. There may come a point where if you keep "fixing it", you'll ruin it. It is time."
As I sat and listened to my father, tears filled my eyes because I knew his message was exactly what I needed to hear. The past couple years, I've place my inner critic on quite a high pedestal, often listening to her every whim and wish. And the past couple years, this inner critic has pushed me to create something that, I believe, has great potential. But I do believe there is a time and a season; what is perfect for a time isn't necessarily perfect for ALL time. And it may be time to remove the pedestal.
I can't help but think of a journal I posted to my blog 4 1/2 years ago;
"I have a love affair with books. People often ask me, "Why don't you just go to the library??". Yes, that would be wise. I thought the other day about how much money I've spent on books, but the number would be meaningless in comparison to the insight and joy I've received from them in return. I want to be surrounded by books; I want to feel their words, dream their dreams. Books take you into another world, they open your eyes, touch your heart. I love their smell, I love the feel of their pages on my fingertips.
I look forward to days and years ahead as this love affair continues, and possibly a book with my very own name on it. I'm not quite sure what I'll say throughout the hundreds of pages that will make it a success, but I don't doubt for a second that it will come to me. I can feel it in the depth of my cells. It's in my blood. I write every day; it's my passion. I believe one day this will no longer be a dream.
One of my patients is a celebrated artist here in Chicago and also in New York. She rid of her last name and just has one, very long, name. She is eccentric and electric and original and every time she comes in I ask her 'one more time' to explain her art. I don't really understand it but what I did understand was her definition and opinion of art. She says to me, "Art is nothing more than creating something that allows its viewers to see something in a light they have never considered before."
"Where do you come up with your art? What is your inspiration?" I ask her.
She shrugs and replies, "Its a deep need."
I understand completely.
I just renewed my lease for 90 days. I buy my RTW (round-the-world) ticket in a couple weeks. Walking though the city I thought to myself, "My God, this is actually happening.."
I have never felt stronger about anything. This is really happening. I think back at all the years of denial and laugh. Really, when it comes to dreams, how could a spirit this strong be extinguished?"
All these years I've lived with this book dwelling inside me, waiting to be unleashed. Writing it was never a choice. It was a deep need. I wrote it because I had to. And I think it may be time to let it be what it was always meant to be. How far it goes from here, only God knows and only time will tell.
So, I'll still send my book, my baby, off to the second editor, but I'm taking my dad's advice with me. Having a couple different sources edit your work is a wise decision, but allowing anyone to change it, is not.
For the next 2 1/2 months I will be taking a course through Writer's Digest University on the business aspects of publication. By the end, not only will I be fully educated and ready, but my book should be finished with my editors and ready as well. Publication is no longer a matter of if but when.
My God, this is actually happening...
It is time.