self editingThe life of a writer includes many things. Things like hours and hours of solitary work, the inevitable rejection letters, the thrill of finding just the right word or phrase, and the common pitfall of giving in to distractions in order to avoid the daunting challenge of getting started on a new project. But one other thing that’s a huge part of the life of any writer is revising or self-editing.

At FCW this past week, Vicki McCollum, one of our members who is a freelance editor, presented a workshop on self-editing. She pointed out a number of things we need to look for when going back through the first drafts of our manuscripts. Believe it or not, none of us get it right the first time around.

Thank goodness with the written word we have the opportunity to cut and revise until we produce our very best work. We can go back and catch things like grammar and punctuation errors, repetition, clarity problems, and the dreaded cliche’. And as we grow more experienced as writers, we can catch some of those things before they ever make it to our computer screens or notebooks.

But what about with the words we speak? Too often, we don’t get it right the first time around, do we? We have a long list of times we’ve spoken too soon or responded carelessly and ended up hurting someone’s feelings or just looking foolish. There might have even been times we did think about what we wanted to say and chose to say a hurtful or wrong thing anyway. And we all know another word for doing wrong things, don’t we? Yes, it’s sin.

I guess writers aren’t the only ones who need to practice revision and self-editing. Unfortunately, we can’t go back and catch the mistakes we’ve made with our tongues, but we can apologize when needed. A little verbal revision can at least attempt to cover over the original foot-in-mouth moment.

And thankfully, as we grow wiser and more in tune with God’s Word and ways, He’ll help us catch some of those mistakes before they ever leave our lips. He’ll help us gain victory over a careless or cruel tongue. He’ll help us learn to self-edit. Will we be willing pupils?

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

*Flickr photo by Esparta, Creative Commons License

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  1. Words…

    oh that we would mark them carefully.

    God is teaching me a lot about my words in this season. Quietness has been my portion (out of necessity), and it’s given me a lot of time for reflection.

    I want to be a woman of kind, generous, gracious words. I want an edited tongue and heart!

    Beautiful thoughts as always, Cheryl. I pray you a blessed week in Jesus.


  2. Cheryl,
    I sure wish I had the ability to delete, revise and redo lots of what I say! The verse in Proverbs speaks such truth.

    I always feel convicted when I visit this topic. Thanks for making me pause and reflect.

    Blessings to you, Cheryl,

  3. Amen sister. Well said! Great food for thought.

  4. ooooh – this goes right along with my thoughts a few days back. I need to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger!

    You are on a roll, lady. Keep up the fab posts!

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