The manuscript is ready. I’m sending it in today. The final edit is complete. Off it goes to my editor at Koehler Books. He will now take a whack at it. With sadness, I leave the imaginary world I’ve immersed myself in for the past six weeks. I will miss my characters. I love them. Finishing the edit is like reading the final page of a novel I love.
Imagine you’re reading the best book you’ve ever read. It’s one of those you can’t put down. You try to devour it in a day, two at most; but if interruptions and life intervene, you carry the characters around in your head, wondering what will happen next, eager to return to their company. Not only are you immersed in their world, but you’re carrying the story line and all the details around in your head. That’s what it feels like to be a fiction writer. It is bliss. The best!
There’s a big difference between editing a manuscript you’re trying to sell and editing one you have already sold. Now it is reality. Finally, I could clear my schedule as much as possible and disappear into my tale, cavort with my characters, feel their pain, and cry their tears. Not to do so would be irresponsible. I had a deadline. And so, I hunkered down. It was now permitted.
After squeezing the work on this novel into the nooks and crannies for four years, it was a blessing to clear the decks and make this the main task. To have societal permission to do so. To not have the niggling worry that I was shirking responsibility by spending time on creative work. Having a contract granted permission. Without it, the challenge was growing.
Why do we place this guilt on ourselves for using the creative gifts God has given us?
Before the contract, it was becoming difficult to keep moving forward, to keep believing I had permission to use my God-given gifts and to continue to refine and strengthen them. I wrote this novel four years ago. I’ve written four others since. Could I keep writing fiction if I hadn’t sold any yet? Last spring I read a book that kept me going: Creating Space by Ed Cyzewski.
Creativity and inspiration are intangible and spiritual. Our God is creative; he is the Creator, and we are made in his image. While we’re using our creative gifts, we feel more attuned to God. We feel him open our minds, move our hearts, and inspire our ideas. Brains don’t turn off by the clock. Ideas can wake us at 3 a.m. Creativity can be unmanageable.
I love this. I feel God’s heartbeat when I write. I love putting his truth into story form.
And now, the deadline is here. Today it goes to the publisher. It’s back to reality. It’s like leaving a fairy land. I am sad. I’m glad there will be more editing after my editor combs through it. But for now I’m happy to turn to the other writing that has piled up behind this project.
What happens next? We’ll see. This is a novel journey. We’re in unexplored territory.
Has freedom to use your creativity been a challenge for you?
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