Yesterday, I was looking at my billing for September, and I noticed something interesting. My client list from September 2009 is 100% different from my client list of September 2007. A total turn-over.
Two years ago, I was primarily a medical writer. I specialized in cardiology, but I covered a wide range of medical issues. Today, the only medical issue I cover is diet and nutrition. Otherwise, none. I've been spending a lot of time lately writing about plants, which truthfully I vastly prefer.
I never set out to change my working life like this. It just sort of happened ... just like medical writing sorta happened in the first place. I never had a burning desire for medicine, although I found the knowledge interesting and challenging.
My fiction, too, has changed a great deal since then. In 2007, you might have heard (har har) that I came this close to selling a book to Scholastic, but they backed out after multiple revisions. So yesterday, after I closed my billing, I was curious, and I went back and read the first few chapters of that book. I still liked it, but ... I would do it differently now. I can see now, with a little perspective, what my editor was talking about during all those months of revisions. At the time, I just felt like I was underwater, like she was speaking Japanese, and I struggled to understand every word.
It strikes me how important it is to remain open to the process. I'm not perfect at this -- lots of times, I discount messages from readers, from editors, from the universe. I'm often too wrapped up to really hear it. When people were telling me my characters were flat, my initial reaction was, "I did that on purpose! I wanted them to be ciphers!" But I like to think that, given enough time and some breathing space, I'll eventually unkink and be open to the advice. What about you? What messages do you think the universe is sending that you need to hear?