Humbling Edits

I haven’t been writing much lately. My main goal really is to be more available to my kids, but I’ve also taken time to let my reading range wide and far. One of the things I’ve been studying up on is line edits. In case you didn’t know, I’m a developmental editor by trade and I rarely deal with details.

But that won’t do for my own books. So I’m searching and rewriting words like smile and hand and look.

It’s humbling to realize how much I missed because I’m too close to my project. And it made me realize how often I miss things in my daily life because I’m all up in it.

When I started this whole business of stepping back on my writing, I have to admit that I was not happy (and that might be an understatement). But with a little distance behind me, I’m starting to see good things.

I’ve seen places where I’ve missed life’s details and I need to search out the negative, annoying, repetitive weakness and rewrite it.

I can’t eliminate the weakness…they happen to be my strengths, too. But that doesn’t mean I get to leave the equivalent of a million references to “hand” in my life’s manuscript.

So I’m digging in, studying, and learning my habitual mistakes. And it’s humbling to admit that I’ve lived with them for so long. That like the book that’s been finished for a year, I’m still rife with elementary errors.

But the good news is I’ve discovered them and that’s the first step. If you need me, I’ll be over here making a few good edits.

How Control Creates Fear

Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don’t.” ~ Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

A few weeks ago I told you about the conversation jar my son brought home from school, and told you I’d be asking and answering some of those questions here. So, without further ado:

This week I pulled a rather “easy” question from the conversation jar: Would you rather dive off a high cliff into the ocean or do a book report in front of 500 kids?

In my current, adult, know-it-all state, I would choose the book report without thinking twice. I’m a bookworm, and always have been. But as a kid?

Continue reading “How Control Creates Fear”

Funneling Light


This little curl of colored wood broke off my front door wreath when I took it down. I set it on the windowsill intending to throw it away. But I couldn’t help noticing how the deep red captured and focused light.

The frayed edges nearly glowing under the sun. This everyday bit of junk, under the light, became something sacred.

And so it is with life. It isn’t a question of how much time I spend doing sacred, special things, but how I practice the mundane, boring, daily grind—the “secular” if you will. Do I focus the light?

Writing a Picture

I’m hanging out over on the Breathe Conference website today. If you’ve ever wondered where I get inspiration or words, this is the post for you:

Writing a Picture By Janyre Tromp

 

When Your World Seems Cold and Dreary…

Winter, at least in Michigan, has a reputation for being one color all the time. In case you’re unaware of the percentage of sunshine we had in January (somewhere below 0%), that color is grey.

The winter world does tend to be monotone—reflecting the color of the sky. But I noticed something recently. As the world wakes with even the slightest hint of light, the sky turns a royal blue. Continue reading “When Your World Seems Cold and Dreary…”

Never Eat Soggy Waffles—Wise Advice


A few weeks ago I told you all about the conversation jar my son brought home from school and told you I’d be asking and maybe answering some of those questions here. So, here’s the first of the bunch:

If you could give everyone in the world one piece of advice, what would you say?

Frankly, in the current political climate, that questions scares me. I thought about telling everyone to love one another or seek REAL truth no matter the cost. They’re good answers. But my 8-year-old gave the best advice. In his serious little man’s voice he said, “Never eat soggy waffles.”

At the risk of blowing off a serious question, it’s good advice. Soggy waffles stink. And sometimes we need to take ourselves a little less seriously, and give each other a little more grace.

I’d love to hear what your non-political answer to the question would be. And in the meantime, I’m wishing you a week where you give love and seek truth no matter the cost.

Winter’s Wonder


There’s a beauty in the starkness of winter. The hard black lines against crystal white brilliance. The miracle of an infinite number of tiny individual flakes seemingly broken off from the white sky and falling to the earth.

But I lose my wonder sometimes in the grey sky and endless stretches of monotone. I might even lose myself on occasion. Trapped, buried, hiding where it feels safe. Inside by myself.

Winter hurts—my hands, my joints, my mind—and I’m tempted to stop there.

Continue reading “Winter’s Wonder”

Unstuck

Unless you’ve been living in Antarctica, under a rock, 100 feet under the ocean, you know it’s January.

Most folks out there are blogging about their goals for 2017 or their review of 2016.

But somehow, I got stuck in November.

My mom has been having some health issues, I’m having some health issues, my good friend has had more loss than anyone should have in a handful of months, work has sent me a few difficult projects, and I’m pulled between two of my own book worlds: One that I semi-finished about a year ago, and now I’m knee deep in edits. And I started the other by writing 50,000 words during November.

In the last few weeks, every time I sit down to write, my brain freezes. It’s terrifying. I have no words. I’ve started a host of articles, blogs, letters, and left a ream of blank paper, hours of blank screens in my wake. Continue reading “Unstuck”

When Small Things Become Big—A Book Is Born

A little over a year ago, I was walking through one of my favorite places—a local craft store—and picked up a book on Zentangles for my daughter. My girl has a distinct artistic bent, and I thought she’d have fun with these doodles.

Well, it wasn’t long until she was begging me to sit with her and try them.

“Babe,” I said. “I canNOT do those.” Big emphasis on the not.

But she persisted, batting her little girl eyelashes. So I sat my “haven’t had an art class since I was 12” self down to spend time with my girl. It was a decision based on the knowledge that it wouldn’t be long before I was too uncool to hang with the girls.

And boy was I surprised. Continue reading “When Small Things Become Big—A Book Is Born”

Conquering Fear and Following Your Calling

conquer-fearSome of you probably know that I spent the 30 days of November writing 50,000 words on my next novel—that’s about 200 pages…basically an entire book. It was a challenge for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Writing with that kind of speed is NOT how I normally write. I’ve always been a little like Ernest Hemingway—reading over what I’d written and editing that before moving forward bit by bit every day.

I thought going for speed might be a good exercise. Help me learn new skills. Stretch me. You know, make me better.

And it might do that yet. But at the moment, with everything that was going on in my family, I wonder if the story I started was worth it.

Every novelist knows that there are points along the way where you hate what you’ve written. But I fear this is different.

Did I push myself into a place I wasn’t called to go? And now I’m overwhelmed in the quicksand that is my book. I’ve too many elements, perhaps not enough research.

I feel as if I didn’t give myself the space to do it right. Sure, I can go back and fix it… maybe.

fdr-quoteIf this character hadn’t been haunting me for 5 years, I might give up. But the more I think on it, the more I think my fear of the character has everything to do with why I veered off in a direction I hadn’t intended on.

Isn’t that like life?

The things we fear most are often the things we’re called to do. Tweet This

So today, I will again tackle the book. Reworking, rewriting, replotting.

I will look straight into fear and walk into it, if for no other reason than most fear runs when it encounters confidence.

I will hunt fear today and invite you to do the same. Tweet This

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