The Red Pen of Life

The literal and figurative red pen is harsh. It can’t be ignored. It doesn’t hold back.

I went through a season of life—a fairly long season—when I battled anxiety. The panic attacks, the worry, and the uncertainty of where my life was headed resulted in physical symptoms that I knew would only get worse if I did not make some edits in my life. I had some hard choices to make. They were not the parts of my story I wanted to change, but I knew needed to change. 

Anyone who has ever written a paper that they believed was FAB.U.LOUS. knows the shock of getting it back and being told the parts you worked the hardest on need to be totally reworked. Or perhaps you knew it needed significant help, but were idealistically hoping to salvage more of your hard work than those red marks allow. You are now being told to make revisions you never imagined having to make. The literal and figurative red pen is harsh. It can’t be ignored. It doesn’t hold back.

It is painful to read each and every comment about what’s not working in our stories. However, without those red marks, our stories would be ineffective, lackluster, and missed by an audience that needs to read it. The story of our lives is no different. Without red marks, your audience would never get to the really good parts because the not-so-good parts would remain “as is” with no revisions . . . with no redemption. So take a deep breath. Embrace the red marks. Get ready to make the edits. Do the work. There is someone waiting to be uplifted by your story.

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