Rough Drafts

Estimated reading time: under 5 minutes:-)

Some of the biggest writing advice I’ve ever received is to just write. 

Don’t worry about the mistakes. Bad grammar. Clunky sentences. Awkward scenes. Not until the story is finished.

And this reminded me of something God has put on my heart recently: you have been called—despite all your imperfections.

world map

A friend recently asked me what my editing process was like. Honestly, when it comes to editing, I’m unorganized and often unprofessional. My process differs from book to book.

I actually wrote Far Below Human Eyes when I was 12, before I learned how to type. I didn’t even have a computer, so I wrote the story out by hand on countless sheets of notebook paper. I still have that first draft in my bedroom, worlds different from the draft I have now.

When I was 13, Far Below Human Eyes was written and finished.

I finally learned to type in 8th grade, so I rewrote the story on my old computer, painstakingly typing out each word. It took ages. But once I rewrote it, the story had transformed into draft #2—far better than the first.

During the fall of my freshman year of high school, I learned about the Scholastic Art and Writing competitions, and I made it my personal goal to enter. I woke up every morning at 5:45 and edited for half an hour before school. I edited every day for three months until the deadline, around Christmas.

All I did was read what I had and fix what I didn’t like. I followed the rules I had learned in the year between draft #2 and draft #3—show don’t tell, adverbs aren’t your friends, contrast and conflict are key, etc.

Draft 3 was born.

editing a book

Draft 4 came about during the summer of my Junior year. I polished my story before submitting to Morgan James publishing, doing the same thing I had done before—reading, tweaking, deleting, tightening, and nitpicking. 

Draft 5 was completed after my editor ran through Far Below Human Eyes this last January. 

And now draft 6, my last polish, is almost complete. Almost every day, I read my story—often out loud, to see if there are audible mistakes or potential improvements—and fix as I go. Control + F is my friend, and the list of notes on my phone slowly grows shorter and less jumbled. 

Editing is a process. Rewriting is a huge asset for making big changes. Reading out loud, especially dialogue, can reveal awkward sentences and minute issues. Even just reading through my story and fixing parts that don’t make sense changes a story for the better.

But the thing is, you will never be satisfied with your story. 

I love Far Below Human Eyes, and I’m insanely excited about it, but here’s the truth: it doesn’t feel good enough. It doesn’t feel perfect. I don’t think it ever will be.

And this is the way we often view ourselves. 

God calls us according to his purpose. For a long time, God has put on my heart questions and struggles. Over time, he’s blessed me with some answers, but—

I’m terrified to share them. 

I don’t feel good enough to bear God’s truth. I’m terrible at standing my ground in a debate. I’m awful at apologetics in the heat of the moment—I always freeze up and choke. I’m frankly quite stubborn, prideful, and sinful, and it doesn’t seem like I would be God’s ideal choice.

I’m just a rough draft.

I have too many mistakes. I’m not good enough to be published, to be important, to tell a story. I’m just me. 

But God has CALLED me.

There is nothing passive about calling. God knows my name. He took the time to reach down and touch my heart. He called me on purpose, for a purpose.

called for a purpose

Yes, I’m only a rough draft. I’m confused as heck. I have too many flaws to count, and I have no idea what I’m doing half the time. I’m awkward and unpolished.

But God does not leave us there. Can you imagine the author of salvation tweaking your own story so you can glorify him in his purpose for you? It is not beyond God to stretch down into the muck of this world to reach you. If he places you on an impossible path, he is showing you that nothing can be done without him. And leaning into this mind-bending, amazing truth is what drives us in our calling.

YOU are called by the creator of the universe. You, a rough draft riddled with mistakes. But God makes no mistakes.

And he made no mistake in calling you.

I never thought Far Below Human Eyes would be good enough to be published. Yet here I am. And even if we don’t think we’re good enough for God’s calling, God thinks the opposite. Look at Moses, who could hardly talk and was called to lead thousands. Or Paul, who literally became the thing he swore to destroy—a Christian.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Know that you are called. And know that even rough drafts can be turned into masterpieces:).

Published by Annabelle Healy

Annabelle Healy is 17 and loves to write fantasy novels mostly because high school AP classes and homecoming dances are too stressful. Her novels have received multiple awards including a gold medal from the national Scholastic Art and Writing competitions, placing her beside award alumni such as Stephen King and Truman Capote. She is currently publishing her debut fantasy novel, Far Below Human Eyes with Morgan James Publishing.

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