Moving from Journals to Manuscripts

Emancipation © Theresa Wyatt 2018
This is #3 in the Writers Series of encouragement for folks writing for personal and public purposes. In community we thrive and dare to fly.

Moving from writing in journals to developing manuscripts is what separates the men from the boys, or in my case, my fantasy and reality of becoming an author.

Journaling has always been a part of my life—a natural practice and place to listen to my soul, unearth what I have not been able to see or unpack with others, and a sacred space to dream.

When I began moving from writing in journals to creating a manuscript, it was not long before I realized that my journals did not necessarily make for good reading for others. But I also discovered, in the huge leap and discipline of creating a manuscript, that the private process of journaling can fuel the creative engine of writing a book. Where writing in my journal helped tease-up inspiration, the discipline of creating and editing a manuscript teased-out what is superfluous, redundant, not necessary, ego-oriented vs reader-oriented.

While each author has their own process, I imagine all authors have had to, at some point, come to grips with this difference of writing for themselves and for public. Only personal experience of doing this thing—of beginning and committing to writing and editing a manuscript—can convince us that work makes our writing better, and that the work is worth it.

When we show up to the manuscript, stay in the river of writing, and trust the process, we find, by our own experience and pace, the balance and satisfaction of honoring both the passion and craft of telling our story.

Scrolls and scripts follow me around,
like hay fever in the fall and honeybees in the spring.

Asking myself to not write is like asking a musician to not play a note, a mother to not care for her child, or a sister to not grieve the loss of her family. It is like damming a stream, withholding milkweeds from monarchs or respecting the work of an arborist but not the lumberjack.

Writing is my particular work of passion and a matter of natural migration: experience, reflection, prayer, expressions in journals for no one but me. A thought, a feeling, conversations, observational and emotional puzzles, and prayers that carry me to writing again. More prayers, stillness, listening alone with God, writing and editing and making connections; refinements that sometimes lead to sharing written words with others—but most times, not.–Excerpt from ROSETEARS © 2020 Theresa Wyatt Prebilsky

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