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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Monday, April 6, 2009

Re-Writes: A Closer Walk With God?

For some of you reading this, you're going to think I sound crazy. But I've never felt more sane in my life (an amazing feat. LOL)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I LOVE the re-write process. I didn't think it possible to love re-writing the same story but it has been amazing thing to watch that blob of words I'd initially thrown down on paper gradually shape and form into a real story. And this year, for the first time in my life, I do with all my heart believe I am going to finish it and get it submitted.

Each time I re-write, I can add more layers, find more nuances that I missed. And by the end of this week, I will have sent it out to four very gracious and generous crit partners who are going to review the whole manuscript for me. I have NEVER shown the full manuscript to anyone. Ever.

And do you know something else? One of the things that always drove me to write was that I couldn't find published stories that I really really wanted to read. And as I was going over my manuscript this weekend, jotting notes to myself for things I need to correct and re-write, I realized with sudden amazement - I HAVE finally written the kind of story I want to read.

Now before you get to thinking I've got a big head - don't. I don't mean that at all. Nor do I by any stretch of the imagination believe this story is as good as it can be. It's not. I believe when my crit partners tear it apart and send it back to me, they will bear out the fact that it still needs work. Truth is, I don't know how many more re-writes it will have to go through before it is absolutely finished.

But oh the joy of seeing a story that has been rolling around in your head for a long time really start to take shape on the page. It gives me a joy I can hardly put into words.

But you know what gives me even greater joy then that? Writing this book has drawn me closer to God. I have earnestly sought Him in prayer each time before I settle down to work on the novel, praying for the creative floodgates to open and to show me how to spot plot and character problems and bring the story to life. He has taught me how to patiently work through the novel a bit at a time. A far better approach then my old approach of cramming hours of writing work into each day so that I was utterly exhausted and creatively drained.

And while I love writing for itself, I love even more walking closely with the Lord, yielding myself to Him. That's something we all struggle with and even now there are parts of my life I haven't yielded to Him.

But even through the craft of writing, He teaches me. And that is more valuable then any book or story.

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