My “Love Your Life” book is still in an evolutionary flux. I created a beautiful cover, 58 saves so far, and the first few pages of spreads that looked great and were proofread to be correct. I was happy with every one of them while making up the final-looking presentation for my critics but after I had shown a finished copy to them for review, I saw obvious things that need reworking. Each of the presentations looked better on the bookstore shelf than any book there, at least to my eye. My goals are a little different because this book is being designed to reach millions of people. It must, therefore, be distinctive and easily remembered.
When I put it on the bookstore wall with hundreds of other books facing out, this one is more visible and visually memorable. When it is lying on a coffee-shop table, it begs for a passerby to ask about the owner’s progress with the program. When it is opened to any two-page spread it presents a problem in a clear and positive way on the left-side page and a way of coping with that problem on the right-side page.
There are challenges in describing problems in a positive way, and writing in negative terms may sound stronger but it forms a bad mood for presenting the new positive way of coping. Probably every problem has positive qualities about it and when the negative aspects are discussed it brings out the combativeness in the reader. That might be a successful approach when making a movie because it stimulates emotions, but it seems to be counterproductive when writing a book intended to help billions of people with actual problems.
I am intending to be kinder to other people than I am to myself. That intention doesn’t always maintain its prominence in my actions when I am distracted by the natural flow of things. But, when writing a book and having it critiqued by several friends, there is enough time and the opportunity to stand back and be more in control of myself and my reactions. When a person frowns or stumbles while reading a word in the text, I pay close attention and try, with them, to figure out what it was at the core of their problem.
It is said that successful products are the result of market testing and it would appear that is what I am doing by showing this book to different people. Artists generally dislike showing unfinished works to people, but in this case the process has helped me get the core ideas that will be beneficial to the readers.
Evolution is a messy process, but it continues to make things that work.