It always makes me cry in a good way. Happy tears.
It doesn't happen that often, this crying when I read something that one of my clients has written and I'm reviewing. It happens maybe once a year, or once every two years. If my clients weren't confidential, I'd tell you whose writing and which piece of writing, but confidentiality means that I can just describe my end to you.
1. The idea is vibrant. It started out as vibrant, but now it exists as vibrant. The writing and the execution of the idea demonstrate the full strength and complexity of the idea with excellent structure and flow. The idea now exists in the world because the writing and delivery transmits that idea completely. A reader will read it and get it. There's no hindrance left in the communication, in the transmission of the vibrant idea. A reader reads it, and the idea exists.
2. We have worked very hard together for a very long time to get that idea into the world. Many drafts. Many revision strategies. Many meetings, video chats, emails. Every time that client writing makes me tear up, we've been working on that idea together for at least a year. One book chapter comes to mind that had been nearly two years in the making. One product idea that got me tearing up had been over a year in the discussion and drafting stage, with two years before that of dreaming.
3. My tears come up independently of publication. Independently of anyone else reading the writing besides me. (This is where it gets a little embarrassing, that I am tearing up in my office in my apartment in Seattle, and there's no book deal, there's no copy on a website, there's no buy button. Just me reading a final or nearly final draft.)
4. The first time, the crying took me completely by surprise. Much more often than crying happy tears when I read clients' writing, I get chills, or that spidey-sense that something big is coming. Something good, and solid, and full of impact. I know it's a vibrant idea, but it's early. The writer doesn't see the full idea yet, and neither do I. We can tell it's on the way, and I'm supporting them as they get closer to it.
5. Now, I recognize the feeling, I let myself well up with those happy tears, and I get back to work. I feel and name the gratitude that I have the honor to support people who are bringing such amazing things into the world. I figure out a way that I can share my excitement with my client, without being too startling in my enthusiasm and more articulate about what is working so well.
I'm going to keep writing regularly about vibrant ideas. What makes them great. How I know them when I read them. What it takes to get there.
I'd love to hear from you, too, about the last time you read something that left you with awe. (I know not everyone cries happy tears when they read ... but you probably feel awe.) Comment here, or tell me about it on Facebook.