Lee Davy advises fellow writers to take a pause before pressing the publishing button and encourages them to create a team of trusted advisors.
There is an enemy inside of me. It’s more suicide bomber than the serial killer. Clocks turn it on, especially the digital types that count backwards. It likes to press buttons. It has a phobia of space and time.
I interviewed Pierre Neuville. The Belgian has been on this planet for seven decades. When I asked him what was the one habit that had made the greatest contribution to his life, this is what he said.
“I think my patience to observe and reflect first, BEFORE rushing into making hasty, damaging decisions has protected me from many bad happenings. Never hurry to make regretful decisions or do stupid things.”
I feel in the midst of a nascent phase in my life. Entrepreneur Jim Rohn once famously said that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. As an interviewer of successful people, I choose my victims as carefully as Elton John picks pianos. They represent a combined one of those five. Their inspiration, knowledge and understanding will eventually prise the freak off my back.
Tonight I didn’t reflect, I rushed into something, I was hasty, I made a wrong decision, I hurried into something, I would have regretted it, and it was stupid.
I went to watch the new James Bond movie Spectre.
No, that wasn’t it.
I returned from the movie and everything changed. The enemy inside of me had awoken. The rumble of his tummy was palpable. I felt something in my gut. There was something amiss. I knew it, and yet I so very nearly pressed that button. The movie – as maddingly cliched as it was – saved me tonight.
I pushed the article under the noses of my wife and my boss.
They provided feedback.
Then they allowed me to hit the button should I choose.
I sent the thing spinning into the flame of the candle. I lit incense from its dying embers, and then I started to write this, surrounded by a potpourri of lavender and rosewood.
Writing is a solitary pastime. There are only ghosts at the feast. You dine alone. Only you can lick those fingers and squeeze the life out of that flame. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Writing could, and should, be a team sport. There is unspoken knowledge in everyone. Use it.
There are times I need the muzzle applied. It stops me from biting. I am a 40-year old child. Like, James Bond, I can turn a simple pen into a weapon of mass destruction. Unfortunately, when you play with bombs, you are going to get caught in the flames. Sometimes – like tonight – you might even be close to blowing yourself up.
I trust my wife, and I trust my boss.
They will tell me when I bleat. They will tell me when my ego has crossed the line. They will tell me when they see someone is eating away at my conscious; soon to be lost at sea.
When you write something and then get that visceral reaction, don’t press that button. Remember the advice of Neuville. Don’t rush in. I am pretty sure only fools do that.
Hand it to someone trustworthy. Someone who is unafraid of throwing you a hedgehog. You don’t want people giving you fools gold.
Then go and watch a movie.
Just don’t watch Spectre.