by Phyllis Keels
When a dear friend edited a draft manuscript for me, I was grateful not only for her time and talents, but also for something else she did. She had the manuscript printed and spiral bound so she could hand write the edits.
It wasn’t until later that I saw the value of her gift. After I had entered the corrections to my electronic version, I realized that I was stuck. The problem was that some things I needed to fix were hard for me to figure out how to do.
Scenes needed to be combined, or lacked depth, or there was too much action and the scene needed to be slowed down. Plot lines needed to be strengthened.
Others needed to be dropped.
I worked on it for several weeks and didn’t feel like I was making any headway. Until one day…
Why not use the printed copy my friend gave me? Well, I think we all know where that suggestion came from. I’m never surprised at how the Lord goes before us, but I am always delighted.
It was thrilling to read the first scenes using the printed version! All of the adjustments I needed to make came out of my hand, through my pencil and onto the page just as easily as breath from our bodies.
I was amazed at how much fun I had with it.
I had forgotten how satisfying it is to write something by hand, and even to appreciate holding a book in my hands. I remember thinking that we should do whatever is necessary to hone our works. Do whatever makes the process pleasant.
If you love electronics, use them gladly. If you love having your own darkroom to develop film, build one in your house. Whatever makes you squeal with delight when you use your gift, do it.
Writing, like any gift you use, should be fun, but there are parts of the process that we enjoy more than others. We can’t do only the pieces we enjoy the most and neglect the rest.
If it were up to me, I’d sit in a quiet, sunny room, with a cup of coffee, my dogs at my feet, and write new stuff all day.
However, that is not practical.
What I’ve written has to be perfected, just like precious metals. We don’t dig a hunk of silver out of the ground and call it jewelry. It has to be refined.
Not a pleasant process, but a necessary one. Going through our writing again, and again, to make it enjoyable to read is not pleasant either, but it is vital.
I simply want to encourage you, dear friend, to look for ways to make every part of using your gift fun and even thrilling. I know you can do it. Ask the Lord and He will show you.
After all, He gave you the gift, and He wants you to have great joy in using it, because He loves you so.
Author Phyllis Keels teaches Bible study, and speaks in order to minister to grieving women. She uses every opportunity to proclaim God’s promise that He is indeed near to the brokenhearted. Owner of The Gifted Writer, LLC, Phyllis lives in Salisbury, NC, with her son and two really big dogs.
Like you, I’ve discovered that sitting in a sunny spot with a spiral notebook and a handful of #2 pencils is how I like to write. Hands and brain seem to create and record at nearly the same speed, just the right speed for a first draft.
Your post couldn’t have been timed better, Phyllis! I was just telling a friend I’ve never seen so much red ink in my life. But it’s good because the edits I receive only help me become the best writer I can be. It’s painful. It’s exhausting. But, as you said, it is also vital. Thanks for the encouragement!