Beyond Words

We must read beyond words! When strung together, they can evoke strong emotions or ignite the imagination, creating vivid pictures in the mind. Sometimes, silence speaks louder than words, touch is more powerful, or just being can be the most appropriate of expressions. Then, there are times, when reading or listening, we must look beyond words to discover an inference or a deeper meaning.

For the last five months, while writing the manuscript for my book, I’ve never been more conscious of the power hidden in words, their unique meanings and the impact of connecting the right words into a phrase, a sentence or a paragraph for the most accurate interpretation by the reader.

These past few months have been memorable, and I want to share some thoughts with you about my experiences on this path to publishing my book. I’m having a short break from the completed manuscript to clear my mind and gain a new, or different perspective. I find that distancing myself from something I’ve obsessed over and poured my heart and soul into, is not only healthy but beneficial.

My writing in the manuscript is all but finished. The words are written, re-written, edited, punctuated, checked for grammar, typos, and spelling. I read all 86,000 words myself, five times and just when I thought I’d identified all errors and revisions, I found more. Oh, joy! Must I read this a sixth time, I thought? I could pretty much recite it word for word—yes, the entire book! With that said, it would be so easy to turn it into the never-ending book. One of my discoveries as a novice writer—I could massage the stories, replace words, or move the structure around forever—and still find more to change!

A million thanks to the two people who have read my manuscript, Ann Miner, a published author of children’s books and Don Watts {The Old Woodworker} who is an avid reader and an expert in the English language. Their input and detection of typos and errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation have been invaluable. I am indebted to them.

The manuscript is currently in the hands of the editor at my publisher and will be there for about six weeks, while each page, line by line, is scrutinized for further revisions. So, I am taking a little break until I see their suggestions. Then I will either accept or reject their input. Next, I will submit my final draft, and the manuscript will go into the book formatting department. At the same time, a designer will help me with the book cover. Finally, it will go into print as a paperback and also a hardcover book. The genre of the book is nonfiction.

Writing a book has challenged me beyond words.

While I love to write, and you all know I pour out my emotions in words, I must confess that is easy compared with authoring a book. I can express my feelings in the written word more readily than I can in the spoken word, but that’s not the same as producing a book that will be published and has the potential to be distributed around the globe.

Let me repeat—I’ve been challenged and tested beyond words.

I am so excited about publishing the book—but I’m also terrified. Eager to fulfill a lifelong dream, yet anxious because I have poured my heart and soul into the storyline. It’s not easy to be vulnerable, but I am called to do so. It’s written now and will be published—what happens after that is in God’s hands, so I am at peace. My part is almost done.

During this process, I’ve felt a full range of emotions. I’ve experienced mountain-top moments and some valleys of despair. Moments when I knew, without a doubt, I was destined to write about a topic—but also moments when I doubted myself. At times I berated my writing and wondered if I had the stamina to see it through to the end. I struggled with specific stories that brought back a flood of emotions that I never wanted to feel again—but then there was God nudging me, so obedience won.

I am learning so much about writing and even more about the process of publishing a book with a Christian Publisher with high content standards. The content evaluation earmarked a few words to replace—words that I thought were fine, descriptive, and acceptable. To comply with the standard, I dug deep to express my meaning in another way, or with a different group of words. This is an area where I was most tested and challenged, but I’m thankful for the high standards and the opportunity to expand my thinking. Not only did I stretch and improve as a writer, but I grew as a person. I was even surprised at my level of patience and the attitude with which I confronted the changes. I viewed the process as a gift to become a better writer and a more open and accepting human being! It’s always good to rise to the occasion when we’re called to stretch.  

On the technical side, I discovered how many grammatical terms I’d forgotten since I majored in English language and literature while in school. I was reminded of hanging participles and the use of en and em dashes. I sometimes stumbled over where to place an ellipsis or a semi-colon. I was used to using the Oxford dictionary as a resource, and I had to familiarize myself with MerriamWebster. I learned so much about the correct way to quote scripture, the proper dash to insert between a set of numbers, the permitted number of lines of poetry I could use in a quote unless I had written authorization from the original poet. A huge learning curve in many ways, including all the required permissions, credits, and acknowledgments for quotes and images. I definitely did not know the correct use of capital letters for LORD in a verse of scripture. It’s not the regular capitals LORD—it’s small caps as written in the previous sentence. These all may seem like little things, but they make a significant difference in the protocol—and quality of the published book.

I am very thankful for the publisher I’ve chosen. They are true professionals who have provided a great deal of guidance at each step of the process. Without their expert support and patience, goodness alone knows what sort of manuscript I’d have churned out into a self-published book. I still have more to do, but I eagerly await the next step in the process.

I do believe I will have a book in print by the end of the year, which has been my goal all along. I’m happy to have come this far and ready to move forward with more to learn. Of one thing I am sure, there is so much more to writing a book than I ever imagined or expected.

So much more—way beyond words.

Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll
Job 19:23

2 Comments

  1. Anthea this post is a great “use of words” to describe your process!! It is fascinating to learn all the ins and outs of publishing verses writing.

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