Let God Be Your Editor

Ann Spangler

An image of a close-up of an eraser at the end of a pencil.

A few months ago I finished a book I’d been working on for over a year. When I handed it in to my editor, I thought it was in pretty good shape. Good thing, because I needed to take a break from writing so I could get to the thousand and one things I’d put aside while completing the book.

Weeks passed before the next step in the publishing project, when an editor delivers her critique of the manuscript. Though most writers will tell you they welcome constructive criticism, what they don’t tell you is that in the heart of every writer (especially tired ones), there is the secret dream that the editor will read the manuscript and respond that it can’t possibly be improved.

Since my editor didn’t make my dream come true, I had to roll up my sleeves and dig back into the writing, spending much more time on revisions than I had planned. But the final manuscript was so much better than the one I had initially turned in that I later thanked her for not living up (or down) to my secret dream.

A good editor, of course, performs a difficult balancing act between encouragement and critique. Err on one side or the other, and a writer may become either complacent or frustrated. The editor’s role is to help the writer produce the best work possible. In this regard, editors are a little like therapists or, better yet, like the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the Holy Spirit both encourages and stretches us, giving us hope and convicting us of wrongdoing in order to produce the best life possible.

If the Spirit is uncovering an area of weakness in your life right now, don’t give in to discouragement. If change is called for, then believe change is possible. Embrace it with all the energy and faith you can muster, confident that God will help you to do whatever he is asking you to do.