Enlisting other people’s eyes to see what you can’t

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.

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.

5 thoughts on “Enlisting other people’s eyes to see what you can’t

  1. It must take the patience of a saint to publish a book. Congratulations on nearly getting there, and I look forward to its publication. A valuable point about enlisting other people’s eyes to see what you can’t, Jon. Best of luck with it all.

  2. It’s very useful to proof from hard copy rather than on screen, you seem able to pick up a lot more errors for some reason. On screen your brain seems to be able to substitute so that errors are glossed over. Good luck with the final push.

  3. Hi Jon, a great reminder to ask for help…someone else is often able to see the wood from the trees when we are too close to see the glaringly obvious ourselves!
    Looking forward to seeing the book!

  4. Excellent advice! A different point of view, or way of looking at things can really make things clearer, if that makes sense(?)
    I often asks for people’s advice mainly to check that I’m covered everything that I want to get across to others but sometimes to make sure I’m responding to the task set for me or by me.
    If you get it wrong it is often glaringly obvious, once you have spoken to someone, but also there is a strong sense of validation, when you get it right!

  5. I decided to write a story last year. To help myself I enrolled in a writers critque circle. I discovered that 1) it is actually hard, or it was for me, to ask for someone elses opinion 2) it is hard to hear different opinions, especially the critical ones 3) I learnt that everyone has an opinion and I shouldn’t be too high or too low based on that opinion 4) I learnt to trust in my work and take the opinions that I felt could add to my work amd I chose to ignore the ones that said ” this is crap”.
    I still haven’t finished….it is a labour of love. If I compare my original version to the currenr they are worlds apart….and that really is because I asked for another point of view. I will let you know when I’m famous.

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