Completing my manuscript was a feeling of both relief and pure elation. Little did I know, I was far from finished with this book. Let me explain.
One of my favorite professors in college was actually kind of a jerk. He was really a TA, but made us call him, “Professor.” Y’all, I thought he was so full of himself I almost went to Drop and Add the very first week to drop him and find another Writing Composition class to add. Because of my schedule, when I looked through the catalog (what we actually had to do back in the 90s prior to the internet and smart phones), I realized another course would not fit with my schedule, so I had to keep it.
Ugh. I kept telling my roommate what a jerk this guy was, and I dreaded going to his class. Not only was he so full of himself, but the class was way up on the hill. (If you aren’t familiar with the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus, google The Hill).
After the first full week of his class, though, I was hooked. I was learning. I was challenged, and I actually liked it.
I learned methods in his class I use, to this day, to make me a better writer. Although most of my credit I need to give to my editor, Alicia. She is the one who has taught me the most, over the years. But I digress. (Sorry, Alicia. I’ll try to stay on track.)
One of the things we had to do in his class was a “circle outline.” The first day our professor taught us this imagery, he drew a circle on the board and told the math/engineering students to prepare to be greatly uncomfortable. When he drew the circle, he told us it was imperfect, but asked us why? You could immediately tell the math and science whiz kids in the class, because they said things like, “the left side is not as rounded as the right,” or “it is more flat on the bottom than rounded.”
Our professor’s point was that when we draw circles, we usually do not draw them, perfectly. There was a small gap on the board between where the circle started and where he ended it. His message to us was, “Let the two points, meet.”
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” - 2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT)
You see, I thought I fought the good fight. I thought I finished the race. But when I received crucial feedback, I let the enemy tell me, “Aimee, you suck. Give it up. This book wouldn’t even sell at the Dollar Store.” Because of what I allowed the enemy to use to taunt me, I took two whole months off writing and working on my manuscript. I did not let the two points meet. I was not realizing this, though, during that two month period. But I finally realized it on June 12, 2019.
Terry and I are in a Bible study with our pastor. Pastor Steve is the most fascinating bible teacher I have ever encountered. I walk away with new nuggets of wisdom, every single time. Anyway, on June 12, 2019, I had this incredible epiphany. During our lesson, Steve told us, “Something I always tell people is, ‘Finish your circles.’ If you start something, finish it. All the way, finish it. If you take out tools, put them back. Clean up your mess. Finish your circles.”
I get chills just writing it. You see, it took me from the fall of 1992 to summer 2019; almost 27 years to date, to grasp the lesson from my freshman year in college to what I am working on, today.
I emailed my incredibly brilliant (and unbelievably patient) editor the very next morning and told her I was going back to the drawing boards, literally and figuratively. I began highlighting and writing notes on her (printed out) email with her feedback. I am finishing my circles and allowing the two points to meet.
I covet your prayers along the way as I pray for The Holy Spirit to help me write the words that need to be written so the beauty of Papa is well known.
It isn’t easy, let me tell you. But it is necessary. Some of the things I will share with you are so unbelievably painful and raw and awful. But I have a sneaking suspicion some of you are or have at some point, gone through the same things. And until I get it all out, I will not have allowed the two points to meet.