It feels wonderful to be in love. Colors are brighter, sounds are sweeter. You know, all that pop song stuff.
But it’s a dangerous thing to fall in love with your own writing. Or with your own organization.
Don’t get me wrong – you want to put your best forward. You want to do your best writing. And you want to feel passionately about your work. That’s all good.
What’s not good is that gooey, love-blind stuff when it comes to either. That just leads to trouble.
With your writing
This one is simple.
DO NOT fall in love with your own writing. Resist the urge to admire your own creation. Because you’re kidding yourself.
I’m sorry. I know that sounds harsh.
But when you fall in love with your own writing, you stop writing well. Why? Because the biggest, hardest part of writing isn’t writing. It’s editing. And you can’t do that blinded by love. You can’t do it when every cut sentence or deleted word feels like killing a child.
Don’t be tender-hearted. Be ruthless.
We can all recognize the writing of someone in love with her own beautiful prose. You might as well wish the author and her writing a happy life together – alone. Because no one else is going to love those words like she does.
Let go of any attachment to your words as yours. Your words are tools. They’re meant to be understood by someone else. If they fail that, they fail.
It’s great to believe in your organization’s mission. With passion. With conviction. You need that to really succeed and be happy succeeding.
What I’m talking about here is the sort of love that excludes, instead of includes. You’ve seen it. It’s the organization that loves to talk about itself. Communication that’s all “we” and no “you”. They probably have their own cheerleading team. Or matching t-shirts, at least. They’ve done amazing things! They’ve won awards! They’re celebrating 30 years! Aren’t they just so wonderful you’ll want to send them money?
Yeah, me either.
Here’s the thing. No matter how passionate you are about your cause, you shouldn’t confuse the mission with the organization. Your organization isn’t the hero.
Your donor is the hero.
So fall in love with your work. Fall in love with your donors. But not with your words. And not with your organization.
Need help with that? Hang this reminder above your desk: