Sometimes plans change, sometimes things don’t go to plan.
And sometimes, when we are wiling to abandon our plans, we can find ourselves with far more than we expected.
In the last days of writing my book I had this nagging feeling. Several people had suggested that I make a fairly substantial change to the structure, but I couldn’t see how it would work. I could see their point, but when you’ve spent so long stitching something together, it’s hard to see how you can tear it out, put it somewhere else and stitch it all back together seamlessly.
There was also a smaller change I wanted to make – which may or may not affect the need for the bigger change – but for the life of me, I couldn’t work it out.
My editor suggested that if I wasn’t sure, perhaps I should stick with what I already had, but that nagging feeling remained. Every time I tried to put it behind me, to stick with the decision I had already made I had another conversation that nudged me to reconsider.
What I already had wasn’t bad – and that made it harder to decide. The hardest decisions to make are often not the ones where there is a clear right or wrong answer, but where it really is your choice.
It was agonising!
In the end I had to give it a try, just to satisfy myself. So on deadline eve I sat down to ‘have a go’ at moving the chapter and ‘let’s just see what happens’. By the end of the night, I thought I might have something that could work, sent it off to a couple of reviewers and slept on it.
The next day, after sitting at my inbox pressing the Get New Messages button repeatedly (yes, even I do that sometimes!) waiting for the verdict, I decided to carry on and work on the smaller change.
The most amazing thing happened. Somehow, in making the big change first, something fell into place in my head. I saw that section that I’d been struggling with in a new light, an idea came to mind and words began to flow. It was as if something had unlocked in my head and it all made sense again.
I found myself writing away, thinking “I don’t know if this is complete crazy or pure genius, but either way I am loving it!”
By the time my editor’s reply came, I was no longer seeking his advice, I was waiting on his confirmation, ready to argue if he didn’t agree!
Isn’t it funny, how sometimes it’s not until you take a step that a path becomes clear? Not because that path wasn’t there before, but because you had to be in a different place, to see things in a different light, in order to see that path?
And how the decisions we desperately want someone else to take off our hands are probably the ones we need to make ourselves?
Is there a decision that’s nagging away at you? Are you holding onto plans that are preventing you from seeing new paths?
If that’s you right now, I wish you courage, wisdom and peace to explore the decision – and enough annoying people around you to keep nudging you until you do! And when you do, may you find too that you get way more than you expected!