Save the scraps // Day 88

When you're editing your book, there will no doubt be whole sections that don't make the final cut. It's okay. I encourage you to save those scraps.

Who knows how those pieces might help you launch your book eventually? Perhaps they can be repurposed as blog posts or articles or insights shared on social media that help extend the message of your book when it's time to do so.

Those scraps become invaluable during that time. They give you stories and insights to share that are unique and interesting, even if they weren't the right fit for the final version of your book. They demonstrate your heart and authority to speak on your chosen subject matter.

Those scraps don't have to stay on the cutting room floor, in other words. They can play a purpose still, if you save them.

Switch your view // Day 87

When you're writing your initial draft of the book, it's okay for your view to be your own. It's a personal and private process. You're spilling, as we say.

Then there comes the point at which it's time to switch your view. You and your editor read with the lens of someone outside you — someone who has not your context nor your inherent understanding of what you've been meaning to say.

The editing process is all about clarifying your work for this unassuming reader. It requires you to switch your view.

Slowly, your book is transitioning to something more than just your own. Slowly, it's becoming an experience you're sharing with your reader. Are you willing to switch your view to ensure the meeting of mind and heart with another?

Cut the clutter // Day 86

When it's time to edit line by line, dear writer, you have to get ruthless with your words. This is the time to trim your sentences to their core essence. It's the time to cut anything unnecessary.

It can be brutal work.

But there's a high in this place, too, and it comes when you realize how elegant and lean your prose can be without any heavy adornment. It's the point at which you discover your words can fly with their lightness of being.

Show them off. Let them breathe. Cut the clutter.

How are you helping? // Day 85

In these days when the tragedy in Aleppo is flooding our awareness, so many of us find our humanity rising to the surface, and we ask: What can we do? How can we help?

This makes me think of the ways our books, too, are meant to help — not with Aleppo necessarily, of course, but with some need others of our fellow human beings have. As your book is meant to be read by others, how is it also meant to help?

Sometimes it's no // Day 84

This is the hard place, dear one. This is the place where the answer to your quest is no.

Sometimes the no finds us at the outset, when we're discerning whether to pursue the book or not. We take a long, real look at the questions and realities and determine that the path we thought we had in us to walk is not actually for us after all.

Other times it happens in the middle. Here, we've struck out on that path. We've set aside the hours and effort to walk it. We've toiled and toiled away. And then, either one day or in a slow realization that comes after many days, we realize this path isn't for us like we thought. We just don't want to do it anymore. And so we stop.

And then there are the times it happens at the end, when we've written all the words, given it all of our heart, done the best we could do, and there's nothing more ahead for what we've created. The work just won't find a home. We keep knocking on doors at the end of the path, but none of them open.

I want you to receive this word, dear writer, if you land in this place that is no: The process of getting here was gift. It meant something. It mattered.

You learned. You gave yourself to something, no matter how long or short was the giving, and that, in itself, is beautiful.

The shining light at the end of the writer's path — the eventual yes others reach but you may not — is not the only thing of value here. It's not what determines your worth or the worth of the effort.

The whole of it is worthy. As are you.