Page proofs for Grace for the Good Girl are due a week from today. And once I turn those in, I won’t see the book again until it’s a book, with a cover and everything. The heavy editing is over, and now we’re in the combing stage. It’s like looking for lice after the lice scare is over – you know they’re all gone, but any minute you might find one. That’s gross. I’m sorry. Go ahead, throw out your breakfast. You can eat tomorrow.
The Nester wrote a post yesterday called How to Edit a Room. Basically, she clears out everything smaller than a football and leaves only the big stuff. Then she sits in her newly quieted room and takes note of how it feels. She only adds back the stuff that has purpose, is loved, and is beautiful. She says it much better and Nester-ish than me so you’ll have to read the post.
Some of her advice on editing a room you can obviously apply to editing your writing, namely to take out all the stuff you don’t love. As I’m working on my second book, I’m trying to leave out all the parts someone would skip. It’s forcing me to be brave and trust the reader. If I put it in there, it has to be important and worth it. Such is the way of editing – we add, delete, correct, condense, re-shape, clean up, and make better. And I can’t help but let editing float over to so many other areas.
Schedule. I’m in a busy season right now. There are lots of things to be done and I simply can’t say no to some of them. If I sit in front of my calendar too long, my breathing gets shallow and my heart speeds up because I realize that I’ve already said no to the non-essentials and my schedule is still so full. And so editing my schedule looks like shifting my eyes from the burden of my calendar to the easy, light-load living of Jesus.
Fears. When I turn off phones and TVs and machines at the end of the day, that’s when the fears I’ve been living with seem to show themselves. I want to be relentless with these. Skip them. Be brave. Take them out.
Thoughts. We can control what we think about, and this is our first line of defense when it comes to editing our fears. Thoughts come fast and furious, but they only come one at a time. I can filter my thoughts through the screen of true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. If it doesn’t fit in one of those categories, I’m free to get rid of it.
Inhibitions. As our thoughts are edited down to the true and the pure and the excellent, our inhibitions will edit themselves. Let your unnatural and uncomfortable self fall away to the cutting room floor, and allow yourself to move freely and create liberally with an eye for beauty and a heart bent brave toward adventure.