Last week, I got the editorial letter for my book, Roadmap to Holland. In it, my editor made suggestions like, “There seems to be a line of dialog missing here” (yes) or “Why are you spending three pages discussing nutritional therapy? Is this an issue that deserves an in-depth look?” (yes). She also asked larger questions of me, things like, Did I feel the ending was rushed (yes), and was there more to tell about a particular incident? (Again, yes).
About the same time that I got my edits back, I received an email from a fellow mama-writer, asking me to look at an essay of hers. I loved what she’d done; in fact, I worked on her essay even before I began tackling my own revisions. And as I worked, I was keenly aware of one thing: how hard it is to write, and how much we open ourselves up when we do. Any word, even a kind one, can seem overwhelming, when the writing is still new and close to your heart. But if we want to make the stories as strong as they can be, if we want to make the writing as clear as glass, then we revise.
So back to the words I go, as I encouraged the other mama-writer to do, too. I think that’s the mark of a professional writer: more than publication credits, more than the number of bylines, more than any amount of fame, it’s the willingness to push up your sleeves and go to work.