Whom Did You Interrupt Today?

Photo Credit – Flickr: semuthutanThe other night, I needed to stand in a line for an event.

Once I spotted the established row of people, my eyes followed pairs of feet until the line ended. I glanced up at the last person waiting, and we both chuckled.

Isn’t it fun to unexpectedly see a friend?

Hellos. Hugs. How Are Yous.

“Evan just told me that you’re writing a book about heartbreak,” he said.

“Yeah!” I replied, excited that someone other than me mentioned my book.

“So, it’s about break-ups and—”

“Nooo!” I interrupted. “I know it sounds like it’s about relationships and dating, but it’s not. It’s more about pain, but in the most lighthearted way.”

Cringe.

Although we went on to have a nice conversation, I immediately regretted cutting him off.

I missed an opportunity to hear what someone who knew very little about my book—pretty much just the title—thought it may be about.

I’m so curious what he thought of the topic from what our mutual friend, Evan, had told him.

I can sum up the situation with an editing maxim: writing that makes sense to you, the writer, doesn’t always make sense to readers.

Writers need copy editors to read and craft their writing from the perspective of a stranger. Until a stranger can effortlessly grasp your point, you need to keep working.

Before I travel too far into metaphor land, my point is that I didn’t learn from a different perspective because I couldn’t wait.

I had to immediately correct him because I was concerned that my work was misinterpreted.

I could have just let him finish (let him be my “copy editor”), taken mental notes about his ideas, and then added details for clarification.

We don’t like when we don’t get what we want when we want it.

Just wait. You’ll get your chance.

How to Overcome Heartbreak

Stefanie Flaxman is the creator of @RevisionFairy and author of a new book about heartbreak.

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