Surrender, but don't give yourself away.


Being published is the ultimate goal for many of us who write. But having a piece of writing accepted for publication can mean making compromises you never expected. You can also be forced to question your own beliefs about yourself and your writing in surprising ways.

For the past three or four weeks I've been working on a short piece for a collection of stories by people like me who found yoga when we were recovering from addiction and, in my case, grief.

When I submitted my story to the editors of the collection, I warned them it was raw and painful and, although this was not my intention, might cause offence. I invited them to point out anything they found problematic and I'd change it.

I've been asked to make changes I didn't see coming, that don't just affect my writing but go to the heart of what I believe about yoga, writing and myself. 

At times, I've been irritated by the process and have wanted to throw up my hands and quit. Because I want to be in this collection of stories very much, I've made the changes. Even though some of the requests have been made by an editor with a belief system I don't share.

I've had to surrender to be accepted. But I haven't given myself away.

What do I mean?

Having my beliefs questioned has gently forced me to consider my assumptions about yoga, writing and myself. 

I've been reminded that my story, in this context, is intended to help as many people as possible. It's not being included to gratify my ego.

Although I don't agree with what seem to me to be the most extreme editorial comments, I've been made to realise that my attitudes aren't as enlightened as I thought they were. 

Perhaps best of all, as I've gone through draft after draft, I've arrived at the core of my story.

I haven't given myself away.

Practicing the lessons of yoga has helped

I'm mentoring a yoga teacher and writer named Elisa Malinverni who is writing her own book about yoga and addiction. One of the great gifts Elisa has given me is a far more profound and subtle understanding of yoga. 

Recently, Elisa wrote that one of the benefits of yoga, perhaps the greatest, is to enable us to learn how to surrender to mildly stressful situations and apply this to the rest of our lives without reaching for bottles, drugs, Häagen-Dazs or whatever. I'd never read this fundamental truth expressed so clearly.

When I've been stressed and confused by the editing process, I've remembered what Elisa wrote, taken a deeper breath, and learned from the experience. 

But I haven't forgotten that there's a point beyond which I won't be able to go. I've found my writing edge again.

If you have a second...
I invite you to ask me about how yoga for writers can help you find and protect your true writing voice while navigating the realities of publishing, and enjoy a free 30-minute session. Please go here

If you have another second...

I'd love it if you checked out my Secret Writing Mantra course on DailyOM here.

If you have one more second (and 17 minutes)...

Read part of my story of another rebirth here

The wit and wisdom of Cheap Trick

I wish I'd come up with 'Surrender, but don't give yourself away'. It's actually from the great song 'Surrender' by the band Cheap Trick

David Holzer