Sunday, August 19, 2007

An Exciting Discovery

Some time ago I made an exciting discovery. I got so excited about it I called my husband into the office so I could show him. He smiled indulgently but looked like he thought I was overreacting just a bit.

I’ve been critiquing and editing manuscripts for writers for some time. I would usually do the edits on a hard copy of the manuscript, then transfer them onto the computer and send the finished product to the writer. The task was laborious since it is important for the writer to see the changes I make and in some cases, understand my reasoning. I used the highlight feature as well as the font colour feature on the computer, making the changes as I went, then highlighting and putting comments in red. This required continually clicking buttons and using the mouse.

Then one day I joined an online critique group. Each person submitted a story and all the others critiqued it. As we got started someone asked how to put the changes right into the manuscript. I was about to send a message explaining my method when I read a message from another group member. He explained that all you have to do is hit the Tools button and click on ‘track changes.’ The computer does everything for you! I immediately pulled up an old manuscript and tried it. That’s when I got excited. This little discovery has saved me a lot of time and ‘fiddling.’

In my own defense I must explain that I am self-taught on the computer. I have never taken a course, but learned by doing. For the most part that has worked fine, but when I discovered this tracking feature it made me wonder what else I’ve been missing. Maybe it’s time I investigated all the features the program designers put into my computer. Maybe it’s time I discovered how it’s meant to be used. There are probably a few other things I’ve been doing the hard way.

Sometimes we go through life the same way. We are self-made, self-taught and self-focused. Usually, that means we’ve been doing things the hard way. Maybe it’s time we discovered our designer had a different plan. Maybe it’s time we discovered what that plan is. God has provided everything we need to live our lives according to His plan. The Apostle Paul knew this when he wrote to the Philippians – “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Did you notice that last phrase? That’s the important part, the part that can mean the difference between living life the hard way, and living life with abundant joy. In Christ Jesus. Why do things the hard way?


LC said...

Marci, I'm asking the Lord for an idea for my next FS column and was thinking something about tracking edit changes! So if it looks like I got the idea from you, that is partly right! (grin)

Good thoughts... I wonder if learning the hard way makes the lesson sink in better??


Kelly Klepfer said...

Hi Marcia,

I'm wondering if you'd like to do an author interview for your November 21st-23rd Christian Fiction Blog Alliance tour.

My blog leans to quirky in an attempt to coax out the personality/voice of the authors that I interview.

Do let me know. Thanks.