I am sitting in Sydney on a beautiful but crisp winter’s morning watching the rainbow lorikeets out in the trees. My Dad’s funeral is over and I will head back to Seattle in 2 days time. I have been very aware of prayer and the grace of God in the midst of this. Thanks to those who continue to submit articles for the blog series What is a Spiritual Practice by the end of the week I should be back to posting daily.
In his book On Writing, Stephen King has a simple formula for editing. The second draft should be 10% shorter than the first draft. Editing is about simplification. For example, a line edit reviews every sentence looking for redundant words, structures, phrases, images.
If your life were a manuscript, how much editing do you think it would need? How many activities are you juggling? How many projects are you simultaneously working on? How many tasks are on your daily to-do list? Cut them by 10% at least.
Sometimes editing needs to be more severe. Once, I was tasked with trimming a 40 page transcript into a five page interview. I had to cut 88%.
We’re so busy these days that each of our lives can feel like a bloated, rambling, unfocused 40 page transcript. As for me, I chase rabbit trails. I can follow every direction of false urgency through email and twitter and social networking. I need to edit my life by 88%. I need to look for more places in my life where I can say no.
The more we say no to what is not necessary, the more we can say yes to what is necessary and fruitful.