Tanara McCauley

Culturally Imagined Stories

Moving Right Along


oneway

 

Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.
Proverbs 4:25

Not too long ago I was alerted to a new comment on one of my old blog posts.

I had to read my entry for context before responding, and found myself frowning. At the time that post was written, I had a thing for semicolons.

What started out as a harmless reply attempt turned into a critique and edit session. I whipped that thing into shape, replied, and was just about to sign out, when the link to another old post caught my attention.

Hmm. What’s this one look like?

I pulled it up and rolled my eyes, asking, “Tanara, could, you, possibly, add, one, more, comma?” The actual writing? Don’t ask.

That one ground into presentable submission, I attacked a few others. Some of them were so bad they fought back.

Though my schedule’s already packed, I convinced myself something had to be done. But before I could commence Operation Edit a Hundred Blog Posts, the following verse came to remembrance:

“Behold, I will do a new thing, shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” 
Isaiah 43:19

As an unpublished novelist, it’s tempting to make sure every public word I’ve written lives up to my ever-increasing standards for writing. It may seem a worthy endeavor, but at the end of the day it’s simply a prideful attempt at perfectionism.

To learn and write new things, looking forward and not behind, is to let God guide and grow me.

He won’t make roads in the wilderness and rivers in the desert if I choose to camp there with my own little pickax and water bucket. And I can’t move forward if I keep tinkering with what’s done and over with.

Should I edit my novels? Of course. Year-old blog posts? No.

Glimpses into my writing past should result in praise for what God’s done since.

The foundations of a road have been laid, a riverbed hewn, a writer made better and growing still.

A writer determined to keep moving right along.

Your turn: When are you tempted to dwell in the past? What helps you to move forward?


11 responses to “Moving Right Along”

  1. I wrote a novel when I was in secondary school, No Blood. A friend that loved reading it then (the manuscript of course) died recently and then came the reminiscence. I plucked the book out of my old things and started to flip through the pages, I was surprised of the twists and turns. So, I wrote this back then? I never knew I was capable of being so artistic and the questions started forming; am I growing better or worse? Well, it’s better but I’ve realised something: we must keep moving and growing so that our past doesn’t catch up with us.

    Like

    • I’m sorry to hear that your friend passed. My sincere condolences to you.

      It’s amazing you were able to find that old novel. Since it’s been so long were you able to read and enjoy it as a reader vs the writer?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. These words spoke to me in a very special place today. Due to travel challenges I’m facing the first holiday of my life without any family. After reading this, I’m going to be grateful for my many friends whose desire is to embrace me as one of thir own. Isn’t it funny how we never know Gods intended target for our words. Thank you Tanara.

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  3. Tanara, great post and some pretty unexplored territory! I haven’t read any other blog posts on the temptation to go back and edit one’s blog, knowing it’s a public piece of writing, too, though different from our fiction.

    This was my favorite line: “To learn and write new things, looking forward and not behind, is to let God guide and grow me.”

    To look at old blog posts a different way, what a gift it is to have a record of how the Lord has shaped your writing! To have a tangible, accessible proof of where you started versus where you are. That’s a beautiful thing. Like the other commenter, lordebayism, said, there might also be hidden artistry there that you can pick up again.

    Every book on writing I’ve read says that writing is a craft that you never fully master; writers edit their novels up until the day they are published, then kick themselves for not changing this or that even after it’s in print. Writers spend years rephrasing sentences and ideas to get them just so. It’s similar to the Christian life in many ways, which is one of the aspects of your blog I love the best, as you show that connection in your writing and essays!

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! May God bless you in all you do as you seek Him and give Him the glory! Miss you!

    Like

    • We’re reading the same craft books, Susie :-). I liked the comparison you made between the writing journey and our faith walk. We have to trust that God uses every season for the process of perfecting us (a lifetime process), instead of working so hard in our own strength to look perfect now. It’s hard :-). Thanks for commenting, and I pray you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving also. Miss you too and can’t wait to see you again at another conference (Lord willing). Tell your sweet mom hello for me :-).

      Like

  4. Tanara, great post and some pretty unexplored territory! I haven’t read any other blog posts on the temptation to go back and edit one’s blog, knowing it’s a public piece of writing, too, though different from our fiction.

    This was my favorite line: “To learn and write new things, looking forward and not behind, is to let God guide and grow me.”

    To look at old blog posts a different way, what a gift it is to have a record of how the Lord has shaped your writing! To have a tangible, accessible proof of where you started versus where you are. That’s a beautiful thing. Like the other commenter, lordebayism, said, there might also be hidden artistry there that you can pick up again.

    Every book on writing I’ve read says that writing is a craft that you never fully master; writers edit their novels up until the day they are published, then kick themselves for not changing this or that even after it’s in print. Writers spend years rephrasing sentences and ideas to get them just so. It’s similar to the Christian life in many ways, which is one of the aspects of your blog I love the best, as you show that connection in your writing and essays!

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! May God bless you in all you do as you seek Him and give Him the glory! Miss you!

    Like

  5. Well said, Tanara! I know that I would be tempted to do the same, if I re-read some of my old posts. The thing is, your style and your ‘voice’ change as you get older (or at least that’s my excuse!) – and so I think it’s wise to leave them well alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! What a good reminder! It is so important to remember that God continues to grow us. We become better at the things He has called us to do. We are more effective looking forward. Thank you for this post!

    Kristen 🙂

    Like

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