I don’t know about you, but I have an internal dialogue that travels everywhere with me, and it sifts through every conversation and every interaction I have with people. It is usually petty, and pedantic, and negative, and so I often get caught up in “when she said red looks good on me, was she saying she liked the colour but not my top?” – Yes it gets that ridiculous!
So I go to an event, or I catch up with a friend and everything is fine, but when I get home, (or even in the car on the way home) my over-analysing brain kicks in, and what was a wonderful conversation and connection, suddenly becomes a point of worry and anxiety for me.
This week I spent a day with a friend who was editing her book to send off for publishing. It was an arduous process for her, one that had taken many hours already, and continued long after I left.
And it got me thinking about how important editing is. It is a way of focusing on things, kind of like the focus function on a camera. Focus on a camera helps you to sharpen the image you want and let other images fade into the background. In writing editing helps you hide what detracts from your story and it is a way to sharpen your words, to clarify an image or a story or a character. Both focusing and editing say “this is important pay attention”.
So I have decided I need a good editor. I need to edit my internal dialogue so that it focuses on the good stuff, instead of over-analysing and focusing on the negative. An internal dialogue that pays attention.
And like the process my friend had to go through for her novel, I have no delusions that this will be a quick or an easy process. It will be a function of systematically weeding out all those unhelpful thought patterns, and choosing new ones to replace them. It will be choosing to accept a compliment as a compliment and move on. And yes there will be some things that I will miss, that will slip through, but in the end I will have an internal dialogue that “accentuates the positive and eliminates the negative”, and I have a feeling I will look back at the time and effort I spent editing and know that it was time well spent.