Week Two

I think I’ve gotten into an editing groove, but it’s still going slower than I expected. (Okay . . . and fish are jumping out of the lake and flopping back in the water as I type). So, I hope that I can get the “rough edits” done this week. Back to work. (I wonder why the fish were flopping like that?)


My Journey in Editing

I finally got my edits back from the publisher, as you know. And I got started on it on Sunday. The revision process has never been so slow for me.

That, and my editors are not pulling any punches. They are making me think of every little word, every description, every motivation, everything. I rather appreciate it. It’ll make my story that much better. But it doesn’t lessen my workload any. They did warn me, though.

My First Experience with Edits

So, I received my first round of edits from my editors today, and I wanted to write down what I was feeling before I forgot.

First, I’m a bit sad. After all, even though I knew the story would need editing, you never get used to people telling you what’s wrong with your writings. I was starting to think that it was so brilliant that there’s not much they could say. That’s the danger, I guess. I am glad that I have those editors to help me out, though.

That brings me to my second emotion: bewilderment. How am I supposed to fix this? I am more familiar with this emotion, however, because I have experienced it when I have had a story that needed revising.

Third, I’m hopeful because I know these editors ar trying to make my story as good as it can be. And that makes me excited to undergo the process.

So, there it is. It’s really not as bad as I thought it was. So off I go to edit . . . probably tomorrow.

What God Wants

Some people may think that God wants people who do nothing but lock themselves in a room all day and pray. Or maybe He wants people who are always at church.

While there’s nothing wrong with praying or going to church . . . those things are great . . . they, in themselves, aren’t what God wants. How do I know?

Micah 6:8b NIV

What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

What God wants is a relationship with you. He wants you to walk humbly with Him. He wants to help you in all your troubles. And when you have that relationship with Him, it is easier to act justly and to love mercy.

So what does God want? Ultimately it comes down to a relationship with you. That’s the thing that He wants you to give to Him.

The Stories I Think About

A thought just came to me. It’s a thought I’ve had before, but never really took the time to really think about it and dissect it.

About 90% of the stories I think about never make it to paper. And that’s probably a good thing.

I think there are four types of stories that go on in my mind. Let’s discuss, shall we?

1. No One Sees It But Me

These are stories I just think about just for fun. I have no intention of writing them; I just like to think about them.

Why wouldn’t I write them down? A lot of times, they are just not really good stories. They may be really dramatic or entertaining to think about, but when you come down to it, the plot is bad or cliché or it’s just not something I’d like to put out there with my name on it. Not to mention, no one would probably read it or publish it.

Every once in a while, these stories will star characters that I am actually writing about. In that case, these stories help to develop the character. The more I think about a character, the more I learn about them. So, these stories are not entirely useless.

I do have to approach these types of stories with caution. What goes on in the mind is a powerful thing, and I can’t allow myself to indulge in immoral thoughts just because no one will ever know of them. Not only that, but if I’m not careful I’ll use these stories to escape reality.

I have to have control over my imagination (or better yet let God have control of it) and not allow my imagination to take control of me.

2. Captured My Imagination

These are those stories which I think I could write.

They come with great potential. They have a plot I can work with and characters that are interesting. I run them through in my mind and it captures my imagination, but when I’m finished my mental prep work, it just falls apart. There’s just not enough there to keep me interested. Not really sure why those stories fail, but they do–although, some times I do have an inkling they’ll fail when I start. I suppose they are a great way to keep up my plot developing skills.

3. Written but Not Finished

These are the most frustrating of all the stories I think about. They are stories that I’ve started to write, but failed as I was writing them. Happily, they’ve become rarer as I’ve grown as a writer.

You see, when I get an idea for a story, I start on it by working it out in my mind. Some people outline, but I hate outlines. Running through the story in my mind helps me to decide if it’s a good story or if it’s one of those that captures my imagination but have no real substance.

I think that’s the reason I used to have so many stories that I started but didn’t finish–because I tried to write them as I wrote. A successful story doesn’t work that way . . . at least, it doesn’t for me.

4. The Successful Story

Of course, these are those stories that make it on paper and through the revision process. Whether other people like them or not, these are the stories I like to write. I like to go through the process and see the finished product.

These are the stories worth the trouble of writing down.

Solution to Writer’s Block?

From what I hear, writer’s block is a horrible condition. When a writer has it, he cannot write.

Beyond that, I can’t say what writer’s block is like because I’ve never experienced it–at least I don’t think I have. Judging by the reactions I’ve seen, it’s a safe guess that if I don’t know if I’ve experienced it, I probably haven’t.

I say this not to brag, but because I think I know why I’ve never experienced it, and I want to share.

To me, creativity/imagination is like a muscle–if you don’t use it, it will atrophy–that is, whither away. Now, I suppose this is the reason why many professionals say that writers write everyday. They want to keep that muscle sharp, and practice makes perfect. If you don’t write, you can lose it. So, writers write everyday–whether in a journal or on a blog or working on a story . . .

I think that’s where the trouble lies.

You see, if creativity/imagination is like a muscle, you have to rest it. You can’t work on your biceps everyday or else you’ll hurt yourself. In fact, if you have to take a day off when you workout so that your muscles can heal and build themselves up.

So, we have a bunch of writers who are writing everyday and not giving their creativity a chance to rest. Eventually, that will catch up to them. Writer’s block may be your creativity/imagination crying out for a break. Just like a workaholic will break down one day, your imagination may break down also.

The solution? I think that every writer should write 6 days a week instead of 7. Just take a day off. No matter what, do not pick up the pen or turn on the computer to write. Watch a movie or draw or do something inspiring, but don’t write notes, blog, or anything else. Give your mind a day to rest, and I believe you’ll be more productive overall.

That is what I do. I don’t write on Saturdays. I may think of a story or try to work on a plot in my mind, but my pen does not go to paper nor my fingers to the computer. I turn off my writer’s mind and let it rest.

Now, you may say. But I’m inspired or I have to write this or I won’t get it done. Yes, you will.

Think about it. Will you get more done if you take one day off a week but are more productive overall or if you work yourself into the ground and are blocked for two months in a row?

I can’t say for sure if that’s the reason I’ve never had writer’s block, but it’s the only thing I can think of. Besides, I once tried writing everyday, and you know what happened? By the second week, I could feel my imagination/creativity getting tired. I actually felt it!

So why not try it out for a month and see if you feel a difference? If you have writer’s block, stop trying to force yourself out of it. Simply let you mind rest and try to exercise other forms of creativity. Do something inspiring or draw or something. Every once in a while, pick up a pen and do some freewriting. It may just be that your mind is crying out for a break. So give it what it wants.

Those are my thoughts. Let me know yours.

The World Declares God’s Glory

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 NIV

I am a firm believer that much of the things we see on earth are just a reflection of what things are like in Heaven. In other words, the things we like . . . beautiful colors, the awesome strength of lightning, the wonders of the universe . . . we like them because they tell our spirits of Heaven. At least, that’s what I think.

But the fact remains that the world is telling us about God. When you look around and see the world, you are seeing God’s fingerprints all over it. Mountains are huge, strong, and beautiful. The sea is both inspiring and powerful.

Now there are those people who believe that the world was created by evolution . . . that all the wonderful works we see are by accident. But when you really look at the world, when you see how intertwined and delicate it all is, and when you really look at evolution’s arguments (not what they say, but at the science behind it), it falls apart.

I offer this as an example: http://www.inspiks.com/creation-tidbits-the-hoatzin-bird/

There is a song by Rebecca St. James that illustrates this concept perfectly.

        The heavens declare You are God
           And the mountains rejoice.
        The oceans cry “Alleluia”
           As we worship You, Lord.
        For this is our song of love.

Here the song and see the video here: Song o Love by Rebecca St. James

(It’s RSJ’s youtube channel. I don’t like to watch videos that aren’t following copyright rules.)

Run-on Sentences

Last time, we discussed a sentence. Now, we will discuss what a run-on sentence is. A run-on sentence is basically two sentences that are connected incorrectly. Many times run-on sentences are connected by a comma.

For example,

Papa John’s is having a sale, we should get some pizza.

This sentence should be separated into two sentences.

For example,

Papa John’s is having a sale. We should get some pizza.

Other times, a conjunction or proper punctuation can be used to combine two sentences.

For example,

Run-on sentences are not proper grammar, and we should avoid them. (correct)
Run-on sentences are not proper grammer; we should avoid them. (correct)
Run-on sentences are not proper grammer, we should avoid them. (incorrect)

The second sentence is combined by a semicolon which is proper grammar. However, it is important not to use the semicolon incorrectly either. A good grammar handbook will help you decide when is the appropriate time to use this punctuation.

Now, it is also important to watch out for those sentences that go on and on and don’t say anything or, worse yet, sentences that are so long that you have forgotten what the sentence was saying in the first place. Like that one.

Such a sentence would probably be better broken into two.

If you want to learn more about run-on sentences, look on google. You should be able to find several sites to help you with the topic.

Waiting . . .

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Psalms 27:14 NIV

I hate waiting. Especially if I’m waiting for something God promised me and that I’m looking forward to. Waiting really sucks.

But it’s also something that God has told us to do. I know waiting isn’t easy, and I find it interesting that God says to “be strong and take heart and wait.” Waiting for something you really want can sap your strength. You can start to doubt if it’s ever going to happen or start thinking that you made a mistake or you’re not good enough. I know that’s what happened in my life.

Satan can use your waiting to beat you down. But that is when you have to take heart and be strong.

I’ve learned that I’m going to wait one way or another: either I’ll be impatient and cause a fuss and/or get depressed . . . or I’ll wait properly and patiently and let God do His thing.

Waiting properly makes life so much easier. Just let God do His thing, and you do yours. He is more than powerful enough to make it happen in His own timing.