One of the biggest challenges that I have faced with the entire process of publishing a book would have to be the dreaded edits. Back in the day, I used to take my red pen out and mark up my students’ papers so that they could revise them. I framed it in a way that I was helping them, but they rarely thanked me for this “favor.” (Insert middle school eye roll.)
Fast forward to me submitting my story to the editor only to get it back with a lot of red marks. Ouch, that was painful! Life often gives you opportunities to experience what you have dished out to others, so it made me feel bad for using gallons of red ink on my students’ work over the years. Even though it was part of my job as a language arts teacher, I could have made it a little less painful for those middle schoolers who were just trying to figure out how to navigate the tween years.
Being on the receiving end of the red pen treatment opened my eyes to a few things. The most painful moment was to see parts of the book that I painstakingly wrote and rewrote get completely taken out of the story. One particular line happened when Mari looked at Diablo with fresh eyes. She realized he was not mean; he was afraid. Oh bam, that felt good. It was based on an epiphany I had about my own personal Diablo many moons ago.
Well, that part didn’t make the cut, but the truth still remains. The bully is not mean but afraid. Diablo was actually scared of Mari, and he used threats and intimidation that produced fear to keep her paralyzed. Once she realized who she really was (a butterfly not a worm), she could move forward into her destiny no matter what her arch nemesis believed about her. That is freedom.
I recently got to share this message with some awesome kiddos. That will be the subject of my next blog. Until then, hold on tight. Summer is almost here!