Sunday, December 23, 2012

Editing an Invisible Manuscript

By Darren Kehrer

During this time of year, my retail life dominates every minute of every moment of every day. This being my “full time job,” my writing life takes a back seat during this Holiday season. Until the Lord changes that, I have to make the best of it.

That stated, I’ve recently had an experience that has served to inspire my forthcoming writing journey (or more accurately, the continuation of). Recently, NaNoWriMo inspired one of my writing mentors. It inspired him to write every day and to keep to a writing schedule. The overall result was a focus to write each day (sounds simple, right?).

During one of our many lunch conversations, he said something to me that should be labelled as the 1st commandment for all fiction writers:

You can’t edit a manuscript that doesn’t exist.”

Has there ever been a more truthful statement about writing?

Yes my current writing time is down to the bare essentials, but I have truly enjoyed watching his excitement grow as I get texts, emails, and have conversations based upon his ever-growing manuscript. It has been wondrous to watch the story grow and develop (and being slightly part of that entire event).

For me, this process of observation has built up a great anticipation for the “after the Holidays” time that all retail employees look forward to. In my case, this means I’ll be getting back into my writing routine to get my manuscript back on track.


  1. Darren,

    Thanks for this encouraging post. I've "been there done that" as far as not writing. In fact, this week I posted my first submission in my critique group for over a month. If you put this week's sub with the one I did last month, combined they would be less than half of the submission limit for my group.

    One of the dilemmas -- I do spend more time on my blogs. I try to be faithful to encourage the other contributors of those blog sites by regularly commenting. I also try to keep up to date with writing Amazon reviews (though I've been three behind for about two weeks). Is that writing or not writing? Should I be frustrated about not seeing my manuscript grow? Or should I be grateful that I'm developing my craft to some extent and hopefully having an impact on people's lives?

    Thanks again for sharing, Darren. Merry Christmas.


  2. I hear you on the lack-of-time thing. While I'm at the factory, though, I've had a lot of time to people-watch.

    Wonderful to have a writing partner to cheer on. That's encouraging.

    Hopefully after the dust settles we will all h ave more time to write!

  3. Often, a writer won't feel "inspired" to write that day. Waiting for inspiration can doom you never to write. Write, whether feeling inspired or not. Grow the story. Later you can go back and embellish the parts you woodenly pecked out. Eventually you'll have a hard time remembering which paragraphs felt inspired and which ones you simply wrote of necessity.

  4. You know, I have also found that it's ok to put your front burner onto the back burner if it's just not working right now. Every story as it's time. Maybe the one you just "archived" will work for you at a later date.

  5. I think it's super important to write daily, to establish a word count that you want to reach each day just as you would any other goal you have. Everyone is different. I know best-selling authors who only write 500 words a day. But that 500 words a day gets them to the best-seller's list! Great post. Thanks!

  6. Karla,

    First, I won't argue about the value of writing daily. The truth of the matter is some days I'm not writing (as far as my novel, that is). Some of that is into items like job or church or relationships. Some of it is, I'll confess, missed opportunities. Some of it is writing for other purposes, be it a blog, comments like this one, or book/video reviews to help others look for them.


  7. For me, it's just making sure I do write...(stress the "do")