One Piece at a Time

Books, like quilts, require assembling many pieces.

When I visited my in-laws before Christmas, I was amazed at the progress my mother-in-law had made on her latest quilt.

When I first saw the project in July, I feared it was more than she could handle. The intricate pattern called for hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny pieces. All she had was large sections of fabric.

By Labor Day, she’d cut the fabric into tiny geometric pieces and was ready to begin sewing.

Nearly three months later, she’d sewn the pieces into dozens of squares. With those assembled, her project will be nearly complete.

This will be one in a long series of intricate quilts she’s sewn. Each different, yet all requiring similar steps. Much like the books people write.

At any step, the process can seem too big, too intricate, demanding too much time and energy.

But no one writes a book all at once. The process takes many steps: planning the project, assembling the resources, sitting down to write.

One sentence, then another. Then a paragraph, then another. That’s a chapter!

Then continue: page after page, chapter after chapter, until you’ve completed your first draft.

That’s great, but you’re not done. It’s time to evaluate: what works, what doesn’t, and what needs improvement.

But you’re on a roll. You’ve come so far; you can do it!

Chapter by chapter, section by section, sentence by sentence, you craft each piece to the best of your ability, then assemble them into a unified, finely stitched creation.

One step at a time.

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About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.

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