Friday, March 11, 2011

Being Edited (Part 3 of 6)

To be successful as writers, we have to learn that we always need to learn. We never reach the place where someone can't improve our manuscripts. The struggle many of us face is that our writing isn't as good as we thought it was. Writers sometimes beg me to read their articles and say, "Just be honest. Correct anything you see."

They use the correct words, but they rarely mean them. They usually mean, "Tell me how wonderfully I write." Until someone points out their weaknesses, they don't see them.

That's been true for me and I've become a better writer for having been edited. Although that's true, I wrote for several years before I could look at an edited manuscript and detach myself emotionally.

These days, my wife reads everything of mine before it goes out and sometimes my assistant, Twila, peeks at my work. Through the years I've learned to be thankful for Shirley's excellent eye. I'm embarrassed when a bad sentence sneaks past me; I'm grateful when she asks, "Can you clarify that point?" Or Twila will ask, "Did you leave out a few words?"

Serious writers can find help and they'll accept help because they're serious. They can take on-line courses or correspondence courses; they can attend conferences; they can read books on writing. We have such an abundance of resources that it leaves us no excuses for not improving our writing. I believe that writers learn best by being part of an editing group as an ongoing, learning experience.

Serious writers continue to learn
because they're serious.


  1. One of the best things I did was join Critique Circle and submit chapters of the book I am writing. I don't know the ones who critique my work, but they are honest. Sometimes their critiques sting when something I'm particularly proud of is rejected or criticized, but through their suggestions I've learned to show and not tell. I've learned to add feelings and action to an otherwise dry script. I like family and friends but sometimes they are too supportive and not honest enough.

    Thank you for your blog, you really are an inspiration.


  2. For now, let's focus on editor's editing us. I'll do another series on editing groups.

  3. Thankful I found you and your insight. Praying the Lord will help me be a serious writer- because His line of work is serious! I need more resources, I have so much to learn :-) Thank you for sharing!

  4. Just a simple thanks, Mr. Murphey, for sharing so many opportunities for scholarships to the She Speaks Conference! :)Your generosity is allowing several young writers and speakers to hone their skills as they prepare for ministry to women all over the world! I'm sure that Jesus is smiling!
    In His grace,


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