Ignoring your instinct really isn’t a good thing. Yesterday, I decided to listen to that inner voice and make a decision—one I wouldn’t have had to make if I’d listened to my instincts in the first place. For the first 28 years of my life I ignored my inner voice, and life was pretty odd most of the time. Nothing went right. I was unhappy, even though on the outside no one would have known. I didn’t feel “me”, and everything I did was based on what other people would expect me to do.
One day I had a horrible feeling that if I continued the way things were, I’d never get to do anything I’d always dreamed of doing. So I cut the deadwood, got divorced, remarried, and decided that it was high time I was “me”. My now-husband spent the first few years of our life together teaching me to like, then love myself. He taught me that to be me is the best thing I could ever do. I finally started to believe him about three years ago, and that’s when my life and careers changed drastically.
It’s amazing what you can do when you truly believe in yourself and others believe in you too.
Recently, I was asked to write a novel for one of the “Big Guys”. I was excited to have been asked, humbled too, and set about zapping out a book that was needed pretty quickly. I knew, while writing it, that it wasn’t going to be a fit for them, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t force it to squeeze into the needed box. So I allowed it to come out as it wanted to, and the result, I feel, was well worth me going with that inner voice.
I pressed SEND to submit it and knew it had been the wrong thing to do. It’s bothered me every single day that I did the wrong thing. So yesterday I queried the sub process and got some feedback. As I’d suspected, the book would need major rejigging to fit into the box it had been intended for. I thought about it, knew I didn’t want to rejig, knew it didn’t need rejigging, and that inner voice told me to pull.
I slept on it.
Then today I pulled.
Many people might be shocked at my decision. Years ago I would have been shocked had someone told me they had, what some might see as “squandered” an opportunity. I don’t see it that way. I’m 40. I know me. I know what’s right for my well-being. Rejigging that book would have made a bit of me fizzle out. Yep, that sounds dramatic, but that’s the way it is. No amount of shelf space is worth me being unhappy.
I’m incredibly lucky that I have other options. Now, I play the waiting game again, and if the book is rejected, I’ll self-publish. If it doesn’t do well that way, it doesn’t matter. I feel good about what I’ve done, and I’ve been sad for the past couple of weeks with my original decision gnawing at me.
I have been true to my book. To myself.
And damn, it’s an amazing feeling.