Writing is a continuous creation. From the initial thought to the final production of a printed page our books are a Work In Progress.
Creation is not as simple as saying, let there be words on the page. Our creations go through various stages as we bring them to life.
An idea, a character, a place or a story gets under our skin and won’t let go. We dream, jot ideas in notebooks, make Pinterest boards and have discussions with writerly friends as we flesh out our masterpiece.
Once we have some sort of shape, we begin to stretch it out like bread dough, hoping it the yeast will expand the mix and get it ready to be baked.
Just when you think the dough is ready, it’s time to pummel it into shape once more. The first draft is a rough manuscript and editing or kneading takes place as we pummel it into shape again.
Then we give it to the consulting editor who gives the dough a further pummeling and really gives the manuscript a beating. Often, we feel like the dough as it gets to this stage. We wonder if we have what it takes to see this thing through. We groan and struggle to get that one sentence just right.
By the time our manuscript has been through several revisions and is deemed ready to submit to a publisher, we may think it’s ready to deal with the heat in the oven, but there’s more to do.
By the time our work is published, it needs to get out into the world. Marketing is another process that is a WIP. Just because you have a product to sell doesn’t mean people will find it.
When the reader finally picks up the work, they create their own story as they read. While guided by our writing, their imaginations recreate the stories and make it a personal experience. Hopefully, our work is good food for their souls.
What keeps us going?
Thankfully, we are part of a creative community that encourages one another. Whether it is through our blogs, conferences, retreats, Facebook or critique groups we share the creation of our work.
We may be the authors of our books, but without the inspirers, encouragers, friends, editors, reviewers and publishers in the process the final product would not be the same.
Isn’t it like that in all areas of our lives? Our lives are continuous creations. We evolve and change as time goes by, we are works in progress. If we are not changed, we are not growing.
Where there’s no progress, there’s no growth. If there’s no growth, there’s no life. Environments void of change are eventually void of life. Andy Stanley
Even with people around us in our writing communities, our friends, family and professional colleagues who help us, it’s not enough to keep us strong during times of progress and change.
Psalm 121: 1-2 says:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,who made heaven and earth.
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:2) and journeying with Him, and all those who He has placed in our lives, is how we survive and flourish in this journey of life and writing.
For me, it’s not an either/or situation. I need all of these influences in my life. I need to eat of the Bread Of Life and allow Him to work in me. My writing, and my life, will be much better for it.