This week’s been pretty busy as I’ve been traversing through the editing process for my book. While the original creating is challenging as well, it can be difficult to get back into the flow of the text when you are trimming your thoughts, accessorizing, and polishing.
I have been both excited and anxious to work with a professional on my manuscript. There were parts that I felt may be weak, and there were parts that I was hoping to keep. One thing that is important to me is that my voice comes through in my writing. I didn’t want it too sound too formal or over-edited. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to an outsider’s professional point of view to help me make my work better.
I have to say that while it is certainly challenging, I am embracing the benefits that come from this process. My editor has just the right touch. First she sums up the whole section, demonstrating her understanding of my work, and then if need be she asks questions to help me improve upon it. As I am experiencing the valuable blessing of her input, I am beginning to wish I had this gem with me all the time. What if we could go back and edit our speech? Wouldn’t it be great to have a professional help me in conversation?
My editor is available for me to bounce off ideas before I go through the trouble of hashing it all out on the page. I would love to have someone to check in with before opening my mouth. The best part, of course, is that I can actually go back and change my words before any of you ever read them. This just cannot happen in our speech.
You might think this is where I am going to segway into the convicting and leading of the Holy Spirit, as well as our responsibility to control our tongue. Well, I’m not. The last two paragraphs were just a rabbit trail. I’m editing my own work here, and frankly, my brain is a little fried at the moment.
What I do want to discus is how this freedom my editor offered at first frustrated me. I thought the editing process would be similar to the teacher with the red pen. In this manner, I believed my editor would send me back my manuscript all marked up with which paragraphs needed to go, what lines really stunk, and big question marks where I was making no sense. Instead, she read the whole thing through and took some notes separately. Sure, she wrote down a couple of lines that might not be received by the reader the way I intended, but where she wanted me to do some revisions, she mainly asked good questions.
In some ways, it would have been easier for me to have the red pen. It would clearly show me what they want. I could just make the changes exactly how they suggest, and move on. Instead, my editor expressed how they want to keep my authorial intent, and therefore I should feel flexible in my revisions. This kind of freedom comes with a heavy responsibility. I respect this publishing company, and not only want to produce a quality manuscript for myself and the reader, but for them as well. So it isn’t a license to just write whatever I want. Nonetheless, I can take some risks to make my book even better. By leading in this way, my editor is providing an opportunity for me to improve as a writer.
Isn’t this so similar to the way that God deals with our sanctification? Legalism is so easy for us to fall into because it seems easier. If we can just make up a list of what a godly person does and doesn’t do, we can portray an image of righteousness. But this kind of rule-following does not produce mature Christians. God is patient with us, even allowing us to stumble when we really wish we could walk righteously. We learn to depend on him more and more in the process. And although we come to discover that we are completely dependent on Christ for our holiness, we don’t lose ourselves in the process. As we look to Christ we actually become more our true selves.
What an amazing day it will be when I am resurrected in my new body (I’m sure that red pen will clean me up for my final glorification). Not only will I finally have fellowship with Christ face to face, but I will truly be my unique self. All my brothers and sisters in Christ will be glorified, without sin, perfectly holy. We will all have this in common as we are all untied to Christ. And yet, we will all shine in the diversity in which he has created us.
For now, it’s back to my editing…