Editing Update June 23 – Prayer Brings Breakthrough!

Editing your own writings can be excruciating … well, make that “IS,” not “can be”! I have so much material to draw from on this first book that it’s been hard to find a pathway through it. I want to make it workable and practical and digestible, but it’s seemed impossible. Very frustrating …

So, this past week, I was reflecting on what my editing mentor, Dr. Lalia Boone, said at the beginning of a difficult project we worked on together 30 years ago. “We could have all the editing skill in the world, but this book is beyond us. We can’t do this on our own – we need the Holy Spirit … so, let’s pray …” That book project was a mutual friend’s autobiography: 400+ pages long, NO chapter divisions, maybe 2 or 3 paragraphs per page, maybe a couple sentences per paragraph, lots of flashbacks so that it wasn’t exactly in chronological order. You get the drift. A mountain of material to work on, and two editors with a teaspoon to carve something clear and accessible out of it. Plus a pair of scissors and a large roll of tape to literally cut and paste it back together.

I learned far more than just editing from Dr. Boone. Now, as then, wise editing on theological material isn’t all about smarts and ability. It’s about discernment and dependence on the Holy Spirit for guidance. My mentor was the most brilliant person I’ve ever known … the first woman Ph.D. from the University of Florida, did coursework for doctorates in three related fields and merely had to choose one to do her dissertation on, EVERY article and book she EVER wrote was published. And still she knew this book project required reliance on God to get it done right.

So I’ve been thinking how most faith ventures don’t have the full answer mapped out for us up front; a lot of key direction shows up along the way. The answer to my dilemma involved praying and then plunging back into the material to see how it organized itself in ways that made sense. And it’s finally happening! I’ve been working on the parts, and now have the framework to hang them on. It’s a huge relief, and I like how it’s turning out! Plus it injects some light back into my project – which is especially important because the topic of spiritual abuse can be so dark.

I’d hoped to be nearly done by now, but it’s clear that a month was too ambitious of a timeline to finish this project. But I do think July will do it. I’m over halfway done! And now the challenge is to figure out how to get to and through July financially. Would rather keep plowing on through with this, but Lord knows, I may do better if I have a break from it and get some freelance work, though there’s none on the horizon at the moment.

More praying for whatever provision is needed …