This week, working on final edits for my memoir –Wandering … a long way past the past, I’m faced with important decisions. Do I accept my editor’s directive to split a long chapter into two, consequently upsetting the flow and creating a domino effect of juxta positioning other chapters? Do I agree on a change in some chapter subtitles? Do I insert callouts to enhance the text?
These directives, which seem simple and straightforward, cause a flurry of doubt and what-ifs to flourish in my mind. Book consultants, editors, designers, and illustrators do their best to help authors like myself. But in the end, it is up to me to make the best decision.
In my last book, I accepted most professional opinions and advice, only to receive a review that some of my characters needed more backstory – exactly what one editor strongly suggested not to do. So, who’s right?
Doubt, hesitancy, uncertainty are familiar friends. They visit me often, conjuring up all sorts of mischief. Did I put that credit card back in my wallet? Did I leave the stove on or close the garage door when I left the house? Should I have attended that book group in person rather than virtually?
Doubt, that string of words associated with a subtle feeling of fear and resistance, can sometimes leave me feeling flustered. My mind considering possibilities and remaining indecisive. My thoughts running all over the place. And, when doubt lingers, just like an unexpected guest staying too long in my home, it starts to stink and I want it gone. Preferably, right away, so I can be at ease, see clearly, and be sure of my decisions once again.
Easy to say but hard to do. Doubt, quick to arrive, leaves slowly.
The only way I know how to weaken doubt, is to simply let go; getting outside, many times a day or as often as needed. Taking several long strolls in nature. Drawing a hot bath while listening to my favorite tunes. Not pushing myself to decide on anything until I’ve allowed things to calm down and settle, just as mud stirred up from the bottom of a pond can settle if left alone. And more often than not, once that beast known as doubt has left the building, room for confidence blossoms, bolstering the belief that I just might know the answers to my questions both great and small.
How did you find solace this week?
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