Handle the Fear—Embrace the Dream

Part of our fear is that we think we have to do everything all at once.

We’re afraid of the size of the dream or the magnitude of the mission.

We think we have to accomplish everything in one sitting.

The enormity of that expectation paralyzes us.

I can’t write an entire book in one afternoon.

But I can do just about anything for 60 minutes.

That’s not too scary.

I can handle that.”

— Jon Acuff

 

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Remembering God Has Already Read It: A Christian’s Take on Surviving Your First Draft

[GUEST BLOG by Rachel Newman]

WritingI find great joy and fulfillment in helping authors learn to convey their ideas in clear and precise ways while still preserving their individual voices. When I first started editing, I wasn’t sure if I cared too much about penning my own stories. My heart was for others; and besides, I wasn’t sure I had a story to tell.

So it was with great surprise and excitement that my story came in the middle of my personal Bible study with God. I was reading a familiar passage when images, people, and places appeared in the world of my imagination; and I knew I had to write them down.

Delving into my own work in progress (“WIP”) has given me greater insight into the struggle that authors go through. By the time their manuscripts arrive in my inbox, they have poured months and sometimes years into bringing their pages to life. They have revised and rewritten multiple times and they are finally ready for a final polish. It is a vulnerable place to be—to have a professional handle your work with the intent on improving it.

But if you are still neck-deep in your first draft, you may wonder if you will even get to that point. Life can be full of obligations and responsibilities, and your writing can sometimes fall into last priority. Or maybe you have plenty of time to write, but the words you need are MIA.

The following have helped me survive the discouragement, the weight, and even the elation of composing that first draft. I hope these will help you too.

1. Don’t edit

Editing uses a different part of your brain than writing does. When you are in the creative mode, you don’t need to think about whether your sentence structure is correct or even if you are using the right words. Just tell the story. You will edit it later.

2. Write every day

You may not have the time to sit in front of the computer for hours every day; but if you write a little every day, it accumulates. All those days you would have said, “I’ll wait until I have enough time” turn into useful stepping stones to that finished product.

When I first started my WIP, I would allow weeks and sometimes months to pass before I would pick it back up. I was waiting for large blocks of time in which I could get substantial work completed. At one point, an author friend challenged me to write one page a day and I took him up on that challenge.

The problem was, I wasn’t always able to be at my computer long enough to hammer out a page. So I came up with a solution that worked for me. I carried around a diary everywhere I went and anytime I was able, I wrote down the story by hand. My goal was one page a day. That small diary page may not seem like a lot, but at the end of a very stressful, full day, it was doable. As each day passed, the story took shape and slowly, but surely, became a reality—all thanks to my friend who challenged me. That leads into my next point.

3. Find trusted friends

…who will challenge you, encourage you, and ask you about your WIP. These friends can be found in a writers’s group, at church, or in writing forums online. It is important they be trustworthy and want you to succeed.

4. You are not on your own

The last—and most important thing to keep in mind—is that you are not on your own with this draft. You have been made in the image of God, and He has given you this story. Since He is outside of time, He has already seen your completed work; He knows how the story ends, and how you are going to get there. Anytime you find yourself at a loss for words, return your mind to the place of His presence. Meditate on His love.

1 John 4:10 tells us: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

In His presence, your sins are erased. There is nothing between you and His love. He has opened His mind to yours and joined your spirits together. In that place, your story will continue. Your efforts fall away, and His strength becomes your sustaining force.

These are the things that keep me plowing ahead, excited to see how the story unfolds. What other strategies have you discovered to help you finish your WIP?

Pleasant penning,
Rachel Newman
Freelance Editor and Indexer
Certified Paralegal
MrsMatthewNewman@gmail.com

I would love to meet you! Join me May 1–2, 2015 in Austin, Texas at PENCON 2015, the only convention for Christian editors. Learn how to enter the editing field or enhance an already established business. Network with other editors, and meet with the speakers one-on-one. Visit: thechristianpen.com.

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How Do I Publish My Book?

EditingAddict:

Our readers have asked for this post to be shared again. Here you go!

Originally posted on Editing Addict:

Upon request, here is a favorite re-post:

Congratulations! You have your book finished—and now you want to publish it. What do you do? How many options are there?

Firstly, what is your goal? Are you planning on sharing your book with your mom and  your great aunt Molly? Then you want to use Print On Demand. If you have a larger audience in mind, but don’t have the time—nor the patience—to wait for Traditional Publishing, you can always try Self Publishing; it is a road where you are judge, advocate and jury…so be prepared. If none of these fit your style, you can embrace the transformers of the publishing world: Hybrid Publishing. 

What is Print On Demand?

  • POD is an option to upload your manuscript AS IS to a site, and they will convert it to an eBook, as well as print a limited number of books…

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To Write or Not to Write

“To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.”

— Johann von Goethe

 

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Too Close to See

“You cannot completely be your own editor — you’re always going to be two close to see the would for the copse.”

— Clive S. Johnson

 

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Don’t Kill Your Book

“Tasteless or over-seasoned characters can kill a book.”

— H. Squires

 

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Make Your Reader Believe

“If you tell the reader that Bull Beezley is a brutal-faced, loose-lipped bully, with snake’s blood in his veins, the reader’s reaction may be, ‘Oh, yeah!’ But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!”

— Fred East

 

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Murder Your Child—I Mean, Rewrite and Edit

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”

— Stephen King

 

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Plot People

“Plot is people. Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot.”

— Leigh Brackett

 

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Writer’s Diet for Success

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”

—Julie Gorges

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