Want What You Want

One of the most humbling things about hiring great people is that they are going to be better than you at what you’ve hired them for.

I hate this. I hate not being great at literally everything.

But as part of trying to tame that particular part of my Hydra-esque ego, I hired Jacqueline to help me navigate this book. (You might have noticed that I mention her incessantly; she’s great.) She’s better at seeing my blind spots than I am.

I hired her because this book has felt completely different to everything else I’ve done from the moment the first little frond of an idea unfurled in my mind. I felt instinctively that I was going to need help with it, and lordy was I right.

Today, laughing, she told me I need to stop being a snob and write the book that wants to be written, instead of the book I want to write.

Oof. Jacqueline 1, Hydra 0.

She’s right, of course.

I am a snob about many things. It’s one of the most difficult things for me to accept about myself, but there it is.

I’m snobbish about coffee, wine, about how I train my dog. I’m snobbish about the type of materials I choose for clothing, and where my food comes from.

(I am, in other words, a millennial.)

But more than anything I’m a book snob.

Both the books I read (memoir, yes), and the books I write (self-help, no).

And while it’s very comfortable up here in my ivory tower, it’s also very boring. Stifling, even.

You see, attaching my identity to the types of books I do or don’t read and write instantly cuts me off from the fullness of new ideas.

If I have an idea for a self-help book, or a romance, or a collection of poetry, but ‘that’s not the kind of thing I write’, then the idea will pick up its things and move on.

Not only that, but the serendipity that might have come out of saying yes to that idea — or at least entertaining it for a while — will vanish.

And so today, I’ve spent quite a lot of time journalling with the intent of getting a bit more honest with myself, and recognising how blessed I am to be visited by an idea so abundant that I’m having to work harder on it that usual.

I have to let the idea want what it wants, and see where it takes me.