It took me a long time to write the devotional article I had been assigned. When I submitted it, I was sure I had done my best, but my publishers pointed out several weaknesses and asked if I would rewrite it.
In my writing life, I’ve discovered several secrets about rewriting:
(1) Never think what I’ve written is without blemish or that it is so divine it cannot be improved;
(2) After every rewrite, my manuscript gets sharper, easier to read and communicates better;
(3) The process of rewriting teaches me patience, humility and consideration for the reader who deserves the best; and
(4) Every rewritten manuscript stands a better chance of getting published.
Reminding myself of these time-tested lessons, I lost no time in looking over my devotional article and making the revisions, taking into account the editor’s suggestions. When I saw the article in print, it was indeed a stronger devotional piece with a more solid message for the reader. Grateful to the editor for pointing out the weaknesses, I toughened myself for another opportunity when rewriting may become necessary.
Of course, to be asked to rewrite a manuscript is not altogether palatable. It wasn’t easy when God told Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke” (Exodus 34:1). Chiseling out two stone tablets must have taken days to accomplish, but Moses obeyed, knowing that unless what had been written before was rewritten, he would lose the precious Word of God for himself and for the people he had been called to lead.
The “rewriting” process for Moses gave him great privileges: “the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him” (v. 5); the Lord passed in front of him (v. 6); he learned great attributes of God (vs. 6-9); the Lord made a new covenant with him (v. 10) and he received great divine instructions for God’s people.
If rewriting does not appeal to you, remember God himself requires that this be done. If it is tough, remember Moses chiseled out stone tablets. Not only that: God asked him to do the rewriting himself. “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel” (Exodus 34:22).
Those who detest rewriting risk having their manuscript rejected.
Thank you, Lord, for helping me to see the relevance of having to rewrite and hone my manuscripts. Take away every form of reluctance and laziness and help me to work hard at my manuscripts in order to better them. Amen.
Meet award-winning author Lawrence Darmani and take his workshops at LittWorld 2015. He is an entrepreneurial publisher, author and managing editor of Step Publishers in Ghana. Lawrence is also managing editor of Step and Surprise magazines for young people.
>Improve your rewriting. Register now for our free webinar on Tuesday, July 16, “Is Less More? The discipline of self-editing” with veteran editor Alice Crider of the US.