Over the past couple of weeks I have edited quite a few manuscripts. It is a rewarding, challenging, boring and yet exciting process. When the parts of the book are noty written as well as they can be, it is a chore to get to grips with what the writer is trying to say. When the sentences flow and each word is in perfect place, the meaning shines through. These well written parts drive me forward. I am so enlightened and encouraged by the words that it seems almost a crime to stop reading. The process of editing made me think about the way we communicate. Writing at its best is a refined edition of our thoughts and gives others a window into our mind. At its worst it’s a poor version of our spoken word and drives the reader into a state of confusion and frustration. So why am I thinking about the way I speak when I am editing? Because I am notoriously bad at saying what I mean.
I usually say what I feel. As you know feelings are fleeting and are not the best reference for expressing what you mean. Feelings do not usually get to the root of the problem. Feelings are great for giving perspective and adding a ‘humanliness’ to whatever we are trying to express. However I have learned the hard way that if you are going to say what you feel, make it known that they are your feelings. I am in the very bad habit of stating my feelings as fact. A wild goose chase shortly follows to try to establish what my problem really is. Part of that I feel is related to my over dramatic ways. The world literally is my stage but I am learning that not everything warrants a monologue. I am learning that the best way to speak is to think first. Clever huh! But I really do mean think. I am in the process of taking the same approach to my speech as I do with my edits. I am learning to ask myself – is what I am about to say necessary? Am I saying what I mean? Even if I am saying what I mean – is it necessary?
It is important to be careful with our words because words are powerful. In the beginning was the Word. God created the world by His Word. You do not have to be a Christian to know that words have life. To express yourself in written and spoken word literally changes your world. We now have to decide if we are going to make a conscious decision to change the world for better or for worse.
It’s your decision.