With fourteen hours of class complete, an hour 1:1 critique and an obscene number of hours at home to perfect…chapter ten was complete for the reading. I’ve never spent so many hours, days and weeks revising and reworking one chapter in a consecutive term. It was exhausting, frustrating and sometimes simply grueling. While the chapter is about people I adore, I was becoming bored with my own writing and started to doubt myself.
In revision, it is best to read your writing aloud. You will catch errors and areas that will cause the reader to pause, if not stop reading. Once I was happy, it was time to read to practice reading in front of a real person. The mirror and my walls didn’t provide feedback, which of course has its benefits when the revisions aren’t good. But since I knew I would be reading this chapter aloud in public the following week, I wanted it to be the best I could offer. I don’t want to stand up in front of people saying “I write for God.” And then blow it.
My first audience was my mom. She is the most upfront and honest with me out of anyone. I read, she listened. Once finished, I looked at her and could tell she didn’t like it. She liked the revisions “so far” but my voice was distant and I didn’t seem connected to the writing. She said I read as if it had no effect on me and it wasn’t my life. Ouch! This is what I needed to hear though.
The following day I bring another revision with me as our class gathers to do a “mock reading” for practice amongst ourselves. I read and thought, Yes! I got it this time. BUT…I didn’t. Everyone liked the revisions (thank goodness, don’t need to worry about those for now) but I appeared “too distant” and “unconnected” to my writing. Alright Lord, what am I doing wrong?
Even though discouraged, I brought this same chapter with me to Delta Lake Christian Writer’s Gathering to read for the “open-mic” portion of the evening in hopes of finally reading my life aloud, the way God would have it. After all I would be surrounded by the Holy Spirit, I couldn’t fail. Have you noticed the pattern yet?
Can you predict how it went? I’m happy to say it wasn’t as horrific as the first time I read it to my mother or as rough and distant as when I read it to my class but it still lacked something. I noticed a few more areas that tripped me up while reading – more revision and prayer after I get home were evident.
I stepped down from the platform. After everyone read I received compliments on my writing, but none on the presentation. People were wonderful about their wording to be sure they commented on the writing. I am thankful the writing was good but if I’m going to stand as an ambassador for Christ, my presentation has to b eon. I vowed to place chapter ten in my folder and not remove it until Tuesday.
Mom called to see how it went when I had returned to my room. I said better than the first two times but it or I were still missing something. She told me not to worry and go to bed. My friend sharing a room with me said it was good and not to worry, I would figure it out. My mom called before 7 a.m. the next morning ~ “Lisa, I got it. You, we, are bored with this chapter. This is all you’ve worked on for two months and you usually jump around a bit. Put it away and we’ll work on it Tuesday.”
I love my mom! I hadn’t meant to keep her awake in worry yet her wisdom on the other end of the phone was the prayer I needed to enjoy the second day of the conference.
Friday’s presentations and messages in the tabernacle must have been written for me. As I listened to various people’s voice carry from the microphones I was encouraged. As writers, don’t let Satan stop you from sharing God’s working in your life with others. Satan WILL put blockades in front – where there is a blessing, there will be an obstacle. With God’s strength and prayer ~ we are equipped with the Armor of God to defeat and stop Satan’s attempts.
Hmm…haven’t I taught this same thing to the kids at church? Instead of wearing my armor, I was swinging it aimlessly in the wind like a child trying to catch a butterfly net in the yard. Instead of slowing down, asking for help and guidance ~ I just kept sharing the negative and my discouragement with others, not God. Novel idea eh? Within moments of giving it to the One capable of handling it…Mom called! God hears and answers prayers.
I put away the chapter and didn’t look at it again until Tuesday morning. We had a “Jammy Day” at my house. I read through, caught a few more areas in need of improvement. Once fixed, I read it aloud to my writing accountability partner. She loved the revisions. She shared hers, and her revisions and voice were great. She was ready. I too…was ready.
The video is about 12 ½ minutes long. Thanks to Amy for taping this so those who missed it, could still hear. I hope you enjoy and would love to hear your feedback. If you would like to post anonymously, enter your hometown and state in the name box. (If outside the United States, if you could also list your country, thank you)
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I hope to hear from everyone! Enjoy the sunshine.
The cartoon photo below is off our entire class following the reading ~ a wonderful group of writers I will missing getting together with. As the baker said, "Writer's Rule...keep writing!"
And for those friends that escaped my camera - thank you for coming! Your thoughts, emails, calls, and prayers are a blessing to me and my writing!