Busybody that I am.

Sometimes it seems to me that I can see clearly what others should do, in both writing and in storefronts.

I can walk into a store and figure out a dozen ways to improve it instantly, without a huge amount of investment, just by reorganizing.

I can read a story and instantly figure out a dozen ways to clean it up, sharpen it, and make it much better.

Or so I tell myself. (I hereby formally recognize the caveat that I might be wrong.)  

Can I do anything about it? Hell, no. In fact, I have to be careful not to say much at all. People don't appreciate it. Either I couch it in such a diplomatic way that they pay no attention, or I try hard to convince them, which repels them.

Even in writer's group, which is more or less set up for this purpose, I have to be very careful and selective with what I say, and with the knowledge that they probably won't take my advice anyway.

So here's the thing: what if there are people out there who can do the same thing for me--both in my writing and my storefront? How would I accept it or reject it?

I think I have a rare turn of mind, frankly. Analyzing constantly. Cutting to the quick. So the truth is there probably aren't that many people who can do it. And those who can, are constrained by the same problems of diplomacy as I am. But most of all--everyone is busy with their own stuff, you know? Including me--so that if anyone actually did take me up on my offer, I'd probably find myself over my head rather quickly.

It drives me nuts sometimes. Especially in bookstores. "Just do this," I want to say. "Try it!" I want to go in and start cleaning and organizing and straightening. I want to pull books from the back and highlight them, and take other books and file them differently.

In writing, I want to take a red pen and slash and burn.

Last week at writer's group, I took one paragraph of a story and had my way with it. The story itself is very interesting and fun but the writer is a little addicted to modifiers and adverbs, so I went through that one long paragraph and cut them all, then read the result to her.

To me, the whole paragraph was vastly improved. She nodded her head as if she understood, but I never know whether they actually change things.

Obviously, it's much, much harder to see my own failings, in both business and in writing. I don't know what I don't know.

It's just that there are things I know, and I can see how some of those things could help others, and I have to just watch as they--in my opinion--do it wrong.