This past week, I’ve experienced a really good demonstration of the way that other people can help you form a clearer view of something you’re working on, or—I suspect—something you’re struggling with.
My “Nudge Your Way to Happiness” book is pretty near to being ready for publication.
I know I keep saying this, but it is.
Although I knew it probably wasn’t 100% error-free, I really did think it was just about good enough to release.
But then Alex kindly offered to go through the whole thing with a fine tooth comb, and I was astonished (but actually very happy) that she found things that needed changing on about half the pages.
Some were just small inconsistencies, but there were several glaring errors I’d completely missed.
Happily, therefore, I’m getting them put right.
However, help in gaining fresh perspective doesn’t always have to come from someone you know.
For instance, also this week, I learned a ton by watching a talk about publishing and writing given by Jack Canfield, one of the authors of the “Chicken Soup For the Soul” series.
Having sold 500 million books, he probably knows what he’s talking about.
He made the important point that a book should start as strongly as possible.
It should thoroughly engage the reader, leaving them eager to get into the meat of the book itself.
When I re-read my own book’s introduction that I’d written a couple of months ago, I immediately saw that I could have made a better job of it.
I had used it to describe the book, rather than telling some kind of strong story which would inspire readers.
So I rewrote it, and shared the new draft with Alex and my brother Geoff, both of whom have been amazing sounding boards for my work.
They could see where I was going with the new version, but for different reasons both of them thought I still wasn’t quite there.
So I sat down a couple of days ago, and wrote another one.
Hopefully it’s a case of third time lucky.
The new introduction feels much more personal, and much more of a story I hope people will want to read.
Of course I’ll only know how well this has worked when the book goes on sale.
We have one more round of proofing to do, but this is definitely only a matter of a few more days rather than endless months.
The bigger take-out from this is that if you find yourself struggling with some kind of dilemma, some situation you feel perhaps isn’t quite right, never hesitate to ask for other people’s advice.
Whether you decide to take it or not is, of course, entirely up to you.
But at so many points in my life, I have found it incredibly valuable to see my own problems afresh through the eyes of others.