Revise Your Life

Each book I finish requires revision.

First, I take a break from the book, usually a month.

Then, I start over, from the beginning, and ask myself:

“What kind of book do I want this to be?”

It’s a wonderful thing, this starting over.

It’s never easy.

You can ask the same question of your life. I have.

“What kind of life do I want this to be?”

In the past five years, I’ve chosen to start over in lots of ways. For instance:

  • I’ve simplified my wardrobe to just 33 items.
  • Decluttered to the extreme: artwork, dishes, stuff.
  • I’ve changed how I work–and the course of my career–completely.

While the decision to start over can be made in an instant, the process itself is slow. It should be slow. You can’t revise a book–or your life–overnight.

Now:

I have found new joy in decorating my home. Investing in art. The beauty of starting over has helped me find my style. With blank walls, it’s easier to envision.

I love fashion and pretty things, along with simplicity. My closet is neat, and not too full. I experiment with style. When things stack up, I simplify again.

With writing, I try to follow Neil Gaiman’s advice, and only take on things that bring me closer to the mountain (my dream career).

There have been times since quitting my day job that I’ve felt anxiety that I wasn’t doing enough–making enough money, doing enough freelance, etc.

The key, I’ve found, is to focus on my mountain–my dream career–and not the careers of any other writers I know. Only mine.

  • Try it: Each time you consider pitching a new project, applying for a new job, or saying yes to an opportunity, ask: Will this take me closer to the mountain? Also, watch Gaiman’s keynote address. It’s fantastic.

Happy revising.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RaChelle Lisiecki April 22, 2014 at 8:11 pm

I enjoyed that, Melissa. Thank you. The speech was great, too. Very inspiring!

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2 Melissa April 23, 2014 at 8:07 am

I’m so glad. I use a graphic of his quote–”make good art”–as my desktop background.
Hope you’re well!
xx
Melissa

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