Sunday, September 4, 2011

Book edits show imperfections

Anyone who thinks he's perfect should have his work critiqued or edited.
My editor sent me the edits of my book, Swallowed by Life, recently. Just a glance at the "Track Changes" grinds away at any gradiose ideas about myself.
In my work as a news reporter, the editor's work wasn't so obvious. When I sent a story to the City Desk computer, I didn't see my work again until after it plunked on almost every doorstep in the region. A glance told me if the headline reflected the significance of the news. A read through my lead revealed whether Steve or Chris tweaked it. Most of the time I had no idea what had been cut or changed from the rest of the story because I was too busy to check.
I know my bosses occasionally found clumsy sentences, typos and grammatical errors. Once in a while if I made a complete fool of myself, they'd let me know. When I was a cub reporter, one day the editor yelled across the newsroom and everyone knew about my silly mistake.
Even the family sometimes pointed out my errors. I handed my teenaged daughter, Carolyn, a copy of a free lance article I'd written for a Christian magazine in the days before computers. "Read this and tell me what you think."
She took the pages and sat down on the floor. It wasn't long before her melodious laughter filled the room and she rolled on the floor with glee-- and it was a serious piece. I was about to ask why it was so humorous when she began reading sentences, pronouncing my typographical errors the way they surfaced on the page.
By the time I had five children, I learned they have a way of keeping you humble.
So when the editor sent me the edited copy of "Swallowed by Life" a couple of weeks ago, I didn't cringe in shock at all the marks and comments. I had the sense to accept the majority of them, which were mostly related to style since AP style is ingrained in my writing and I have trouble changing. I accepted the editor's comments with joy because I know they improve the book. I usually do the same with my critique group's suggestions.
When I read the Bible, my imperfections glare out at me even more than they do in my writing. The Word and the Spirit point to weeds in my life that need to be killed or pulled. I try to have the same attitude I have with editors because I know when the Lord works in me, I'll be much better for it. Not always easy, though, and often tears come as I realize how imperfect I am.
But the joy is, I serve a sinless, perfect, holy and just Lord whose blood covers my imperfections because I asked Him to.