I did it. I made the cut. After five years of growing my hair out to donate to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, I was ready. I had the minimum length, plus some.
I’m heading to England for an extended holiday and decided that short hair would be easier to deal with anyway. The appointment was set. I had the directions for donation bookmarked.
Monday was appointment day. I had prepared myself as much as I could, because while I had been growing my hair out with the intention of donating it, I was still a bit attached to it. I worried that I wouldn’t look as good with short hair, that I’d be feeling remorse as I have when going short before. I thanked my hair for being such a positive part of my life, and let it go with my blessing. I knew it was going to a good cause, one I’d chosen because it required little money or energy. I wanted to find a way to give, but my finances only allowed so much monetary donation and my chronic fatigue only allowed so much time donation.
My hair, however, was going to be there anyway. I liked having long hair, so I didn’t mind growing it out. And I have nice, quality hair. How awesome to be able to enjoy it myself and then pass it on to someone else for their enjoyment? Any twinges of remorse were quickly silenced thinking about the recipient who very unwillingly and painfully lost her hair. This was a small price to pay to assuage some of that pain.
After the snip, snip, snip (it did take three to get through the ponytail), ten-plus inches went into a ziplock bag and I felt instantly lighter. It may only have been an ounce of hair, but the shift was noticeable. By the time my do was washed and styled, I was beaming. I loved it! I felt older, but not in a bad way. I felt more mature and capable, and I have been reveling in the positive energy boost that comes with a big change like this and the accompanying compliments.
This is how good editing feels. At first, it is difficult to imagine losing any of your words, even if you have too many and they aren’t showing off your book’s best face.
You remind yourself that you’ll always be able to put the words back in and let the editor have at it.
It comes back to you lighter, more structured, and somehow more authentically you than when you sent it off. You wonder why you were so worried—this streamlined manuscript looks and feels fantastic!
All those words were necessary to get to this point. If you hadn’t let it all spill onto the page, your editor couldn’t shape it into its full beauty. Every word may not make it into the the final product, but every word serves a purpose.
Too bad there isn’t somewhere to donate all those words that end up on the cutting room floor!