So today I’ve received first-round edits back from my editor. I got it much earlier in the day, but I’ve been too nervous to review them.
What am I expecting from the editor? Objective editing: grammar, syntax, flow… Nothing that should make me nervous.
I’ve been working on this book for 7 years, and I just want someone to tell me it’s good enough. I want the world to tell me it’s good enough. I want validation on the words I’ve labored to write.
But that isn’t what this edit is for.
I decided that my book is good enough. I decided to take the next steps to get Part I of White Minority into publication. There was a point where I decided that I’m done tweaking things. I could edit and tweak the story forever.
If I want to pursue other creative projects, I cannot tweak the story forever.
My biggest life stopper is fear. Fear that I will not be perfect. Fear that I’m not good enough. Totally absurd, I know.
If you know me, you know I teach online with VIPKid. It’s teaching English online to kids in China. Like really, really part-time. One of the things we have to do is make little videos to introduce ourselves and whatnot. Well, I am generally too embarrassed to watch myself on video. I don’t know why. It’s really painful and awkward and my face gets flushed. I get hot and sweaty. And the last thing I want is for someone else to watch the video—when my 2-year-old finds my intro video outtakes on my phone and watches them, I get embarrassed.
Well anyway, I needed to make a new video earlier this year but I had been too embarrassed to have to edit it. Furthermore, I was terrified that the video wouldn’t be good enough to pit me against all the happy-go-lucky, red-lipsticked teachers who spend hundreds on props and decorations and hire professional video editors.
Well, at the time I was listening to the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. It encouraged me to act in spite of my fear.
Well, what about now, with my book edits? How the heck could I be embarrassed to read my own words with edits sprinkled throughout?
Was I scared I wouldn’t like the changes? Maybe.
Was I scared because every day I march closer to this book’s publication? Probably.
Was I scared because I’m making a huge investment, and if I can’t keep up with the marketing side of things, the whole project could fall flat? Yes, terrified.
When I was making my intro video, and watching and editing the clips, I felt nervous and embarrassed the whole time. Scared when I pressed the submit button and scared until they accepted it into the system. But I did it anyway.
And I felt empowered after I did it anyway. Proud that I’d done it. (Even though, now, I need to make a new one again.) I raised myself to a new level. That was the best I could do that day. Today or tomorrow, I think I could make something better than what I did in January. But if I worried then about how good it needed to be, instead of thinking about improving upon what I had, I’m not sure I would have made anything at all.
And unless I want the completed book to die in obscurity—without another human being having laid eyes on it—I have keep working. I have to work in spite of the fear. I can be scared, I just have to keep taking steps forward. Doing the best I can with what I have now.
That’s why I’m going to read through the edits, make the changes, and send it back to the editor when it’s due.
How do you act in spite of fear? Comments, questions? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section down below.