Change is coming…
As I recently shared on Twitter, my life, my routine, my job is all about to change at the end of the summer. After 18 years of serving as a youth/associate minister here in Michigan, I’ve been called to become the senior pastor of another church out in New York state. This is not a sudden decision or a sudden change, but something that has very much been in the works for two years now.
I’ve seen change coming, and while I didn’t struggle against it, I wasn’t exactly running to embrace it. Life with four kids, two jobs, and a wife with a career of her own is busy enough even when things are relatively stable. But God’s been slowly but persistently pushing me toward the senior pastorate, and after more job interviews and offers than I care to state, I finally found the one that I’m sure I’m supposed to go to. And so we’re going.
Change is terrifying to most people and especially to me. I like my constants, my routine, my security. Changing my job location, my job type, my house, my state, all in the span of a month and a half is so overwhelming that I think I just lapped all the way back to “calm, cool, and collected.” My wife and I have been firing in all directions, working on selling our house, buying another, figuring out what I need to do to get ready for my job, and making a list of the hundred or so things we’ll need to do to get settled into our new home. The kids are all scared too, because they’ve never moved before. We’re taking them away from their friends and school and church family. It’s going to be hard before it gets better, but as I tell them, we’ll do it together.
What keeps me from going crazy during all of this is just knowing that it’s the right thing. Staying wouldn’t be. It would be the easier thing, but I know I would regret it in the end. I have this peace in my heart that I can’t explain, but I know that it’s a much-needed gift from my Lord to help me prepare and make it through this transition.
This means change in another way, too: I’ll be stepping down as a senior reporter at Massively OP. I’ve been doing news for Massively and MOP since 2010, and again, it’s kind of sad that it’ll be the end of that. But I can’t do it with my new job and schedule, and I really do want a break from the pressure of the daily news cycle.
But I won’t be leaving MOP, which makes me happy. I’ll still be there doing the podcast and other columns (we’re still figuring that out), and I’ll still be writing here on Bio Break and doing Battle Bards as usual. Writing is my outlet and hobby and passion, and it’s a good thing for me overall. That won’t change.
Editing is like wrestling with a grammatical bear
The other “life news of Syp” that I wanted to share is an update on my novel. After finishing the first draft back in June, I took a week to rest and then started working on editing. Initially I thought I’d edit a chapter a day for 35 days, but very quickly I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Some of my chapters are much longer than others, and this editing thing is really a painstakingly slow process.
In my head while I wrote the book, I thought it was pretty great the first time around — at least the writing was solid. But now I see that it needs work, a LOT of work. That’s what writing is, really. Nobody gets it done perfect right out of the gate.
So what I’m doing is making a relatively sane daily goal of editing for 15 minutes. That’s usually a few paragraphs, but I can dig down deep into those. My editing style is to read the book out loud, so that I can hear how it sounds. That may seem silly, but it’s not. It’s a good editing technique, and one that I’ve used for years on my sermons as I refine them over the course of a week. You have to hear how a sentence and paragraph flows. You have to hear if you’re doing nothing but enormous sentences with no change in cadence and structure. And you definitely need to hear the dialogue. If it doesn’t sound right to me, I figure it’s REALLY not going to sound right to others.
I’m somewhere in the middle of chapter 9 right now. Making progress, but editing is very low on my list of priorities this month (obviously). I am a little worried that the emotional high of my excitement that I had while writing it is not there right now. I still like the book, but it’s been a lot of work for a good chunk of the year now and there’s a long way to go. So I’ll keep taking little steps forward and trust that it’ll get done one day.