Writing a book is an accomplishment, but the work certainly doesn’t stop there. A couple weeks ago, I worked on what is called the “Review Edit” on A Widow’s Might where, after the editors carefully went over my manuscript and made corrections, it came back to me to either accept or reject each change. We sent it back and forth until we were all happy with it.
What a humbling experience to see what I thought was a nearly perfect manuscript come back with red markings all over it! Many changes were small, but others required some rewriting. In the process I had to give up some sentences or phrases I had thought were really good in order to make the message clear. While I didn’t enjoy seeing all those red marks and purple comments, I knew the editors and I were working together to produce the best, most readable book possible. So I accepted most of their changes, and this made the book much better.
The editing process is very much like the pruning of a vine or bush. As I worked on the manuscript, I thought of the scripture in John 15:1-2 where Jesus talks about pruning, saying He is the vine and the Father is the gardener who removes unproductive branches and prunes the productive branches so they’ll bear more fruit. This passage used to scare me. I thought it was talking about removing people from the Kingdom if they weren’t doing their job. But no, I think now that it means as we abide in Him, He removes activities and relationships from our lives that are no longer productive, and He trims and refines fruitful ones to make them healthier. He loves us and wants the best for us.
In Hebrews 12:5-11 we read about discipline. Although we don’t enjoy the process at the moment, the end result is well worth it: “the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” I am very blessed to have editors who can spot the weaknesses in my book and get them out of there. And even more, I’m blessed to have a loving Father who prunes my life, helping me get rid of unproductive parts so what remains can be more fruitful.