I watched a short video clip of a best-selling author named Jon Acuff discuss the writing process. Acuff is the author of several inspiring books that I recommend to anyone in any profession: Start & Quitter. In the presentation he explained the perils of “self-editing” before you even begin a task. Acuff pointed out that most writers have a tendency to edit an idea into extinction before they ever key the first letters to a page. His message was to follow your instincts and just write: to get it all down on paper and worry about the problems later.
He was talking about the mechanics of the creative process, but it struck me that what he was saying transcended “artist-speak” and had some significant life application. No matter our profession, we wake every morning with a new beginning. It may be a battered metaphor, but it is true that each day brings an opportunity to ink a fresh new story: to do something eternally significant. You see, Jon’s admonitions about self-editing are true to life because we all have an inner compass magnetized toward meaning.
Slow the noise and static of your life, quiet the incessant self-talk for a moment and you will be pulled in its direction.
Each breaking sunrise provides us an unrecorded episode anticipating our best intentions… and those longings too often suffer the same fate as the words of the artist. We “self-edit” our sacred imaginings and we do it with ease:
“I don’t have time…”
“I don’t have the talent…”
“I don’t have the money…”
“It is someone else’s problem.”
“There is a government program for that.”
These are the whispers of unwritten stories.
We “self-edit” toward inertia and ignore the magnetic pull of our souls toward the meaningful and eternal. As I wrote in Holy Nomad, “We resist the journey.”
Wherever you find yourself, take a moment to view your life as the blank page.
Don’t waste another day self-editing.
Don’t sabotage your heart with uncharted problems.