Rebecca was raised by high-achieving parents who instilled in her the belief that going the extra mile was the way to succeed in life.
With three older brothers she constantly felt in competition with, she set out to prove her worth.
Initially this guiding principle was a positive influence on the way she applied herself to developing a successful career as an Executive Coach and Trainer who also felt drawn to write a book to share her knowledge and experience.
However, she unconsciously took what she’d been taught to such an extreme that her endless enthusiasm to serve others led her to lose sight completely of her own priorities and dreams.
It wasn’t until a close friend she’d known all her life finally persuaded her to follow through on her impulse to write that she realized it was time for a new way forwards.
As a coach herself, she knew the value of working with professional guidance and support so she signed up for six months of mentoring with me.
Having at last made the decision to write the book she’d thought about on and off for years, Rebecca applied herself to writing with great dedication and commitment.
She loved the holistic approach of Conscious Writing and was pleasantly surprised by the flow of words that poured out of her onto the page.
Yet it wasn’t long before her old pattern started to take over and she felt a compulsion to share everything she’d ever learnt in order to go the extra mile for her reader.
Lost in Detail
The clarity about her core message which she’d initially discovered during our early mentoring sessions became lost in a sea of details as she added more and more into her ever expanding chapters.
Her conditioned belief was so strong that initially she couldn’t accept what I reflected back to her about what was occurring.
So she resisted my recommendation to step back to see the big picture and reconnect with the true purpose the book was intended to serve, and resolutely continued to over-write big time!
What You Leave Out
Fortunately, it didn’t take long for the combination of mentoring and Conscious Writing tools and techniques to trigger enough awareness in Rebecca for her to realize that she was unconsciously playing out her old pattern all over again.
She started to see that trying to include everything in her first book wasn’t working and began to embrace a point we’d discussed several times before.
What you leave out is just as important as what you put in, and one of the most effective ways to identify what to reserve for future use is to maintain a big picture perspective alongside immersion in the detail.
Remembering your primary intention for writing your book as the vehicle through which you convey your core message or tell your story provides you with a benchmark against which to measure what – and how much – to include.
In fact it’s a highly creative and hugely important part of the writing process to distil the essence of your message or story into a form that your reader can truly benefit from without feeling overwhelmed with words.
Flow and Focus
You may not have the same unconscious driver that Rebecca had to deal with in terms of feeling the need to go the extra mile to the point of excessive over-writing.
Yet the tendency to include more than is actually required is a common challenge that writers face in a world of decreasing attention spans and a “less is more” contemporary climate.
So remembering to pause on a regular basis to step back and view your work through a big picture lens will help you maintain a healthy relationship between following your flow and retaining your focus.
As for Rebecca, reconnecting with her core purpose gradually loosened the grip of her conditioned belief that pushed her always to strive for “more”.
It wasn’t long before she discovered the difference it made to write less and allow breathing space around her ideas, stories and words.
In the end she came to appreciate fully what Antoine de Saint-Exupery expressed so well when he said, “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Where are you in terms of balancing the big picture perspective and the detail of your current writing project? Please share your comments and experience below. Thank you!