I’m a firm believer that my first two books will publish. Yes, I wrote them years, not months, ago. Yes, I’m a better writer now than then. Yes, they will take a lot of work. But they will resurrect. I know it.
Maybe you have an old manuscript that needs resurrection. Let me tell you what I’ve learned:
1) It’s good for a manuscript to lie in the grave awhile. Even in the grave it changes.
2) Unlike Jesus, sometimes a manuscript resurrects more than once before fully coming to life.
3) Like Jesus, newness of life for the manuscript itself and those who read comes with resurrection.
Let’s take my first novel for example. I wrote it from my heart, loved it, won contests with it, rewrote it many times, learned from it. Finally I sensed the Lord telling me it was time to lay it down. Into the grave it went. Waiting was good for it. It needed me to grow up–as a writer and as a person–to do it justice. Before it went to the “grave,” I was given some advice about the manuscript I resisted. The advice went with my manuscript to the grave. What I didn’t know is that advice was changing the manuscript even as it slept.
Then, one day, someone who loved the manuscript asked me to resurrect it. I poured over it, rewriting the first few chapters to bring it up to my present understanding of craft and my more fully developed voice. Low and behold, I realized the advice I’d buried with the manuscript had been right! I made sweeping changes and took it to a writer’s conference where an editor requested a full! Excited, I dug into the rest of the chapters, ready to bring my story to new life. But–you guessed it–things didn’t go as I planned. Some of it was my skill level, and some of it was life circumstances. Eventually I had to put it away and take care of the crises at home.
Fast forward a couple of years. It’s again been requested that the manuscript be resurrected. I prayed and felt the Lord say it was time to learn a little more, to bring newness of life into my beloved story. On my to-do list is another round of polishing those first chapters so I can take it to someone more advanced than I for advice. I don’t know if this will be a final resurrection or just another groaning hinting of the new life it will someday lead.
But I do know resurrection day will come. The Lord planted the faith within my heart to believe it will someday come fully to life and bring new life with it for others.
Until then I wait, in eagerness and expectation.
If you have a manuscript that just won’t die, don’t be afraid to resurrect it. Each time you pull it from the dark recesses of your computer, look at it with new eyes, revisit past advice, and rewrite with the newness of life that’s grown in you since the last time you tackled it!
And wait in expectation. Sunday’s on the way!