The Dreaded Red Mark

I love the adventure of writing. I love exploring and experiencing the world or emotions I write about. But when I finish that first draft, editing must always happen.

I hate seeing those nasty confidence crippling red marks. Let me tell you, for someone who is mildly dyslexic, it’s never just one red mark. More than likely, it is a sea of them I feel I could drown in. This has been my number one challenge in completing my work.

“I have learned that taking one bite at a time and chewing it well is important.”

So how do I face those red marks?

Slowly, methodically, and with help.

I have learned that taking one bite at a time and chewing it well is important. One word, one-line, one paragraph, one page. If I get ahead of myself, I give up.

I also pace myself. Sometimes we are unaware of the energy spent while creating something, and the drain it can have on our being. I fix one word, then remind myself to blink and breathe. After tackling the next sentence, I do the breathing over again, and maybe step away from the screen to get a drink.

I am a much slower writer than most people, but that’s okay. We all create in our own way and honestly, I’m not trying to be anyone else’s competition. (Unless I am writing for a contest, that is.) I dread those red marks, but there is also nothing quite like the satisfaction of seeing them disappear from my work.

Trying is also something I do slowly. I often make mistakes while trying to fix things. Rarely is a second draft enough. More likely, a third, fourth, or even fifth draft happens before the piece is ready. The longer the project, the more drafts needed.

“So those red marks keep me humble and social.”

I rely heavily on grammar software as it’s difficult for me to see mistakes like the use if the wrong ‘to’ in a sentence. I don’t know if I could even attempt writing if it wasn’t for programs like Grammarly and ProWritingAid. But even after I reread things myself, and let the computer to its thing, I always need at least one other person to help. Software just can’t pickup all my mistakes.

So those red marks keep me humble and social. If my husband isn’t available to read through my work, I have to reach out and ask someone else. This is always awkward for me. Will they roles there eyes at my mistakes? Will they be able to see past the red to the heart of things? Can I trust them?

Oh, those little red marks teach so many things…

How do you handle the dreaded red mark?

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef


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The Give and Take of Creativity

Most things in life are a give and a take relationship. We breathe in oxygen, and give out carbon-monoxide. That feeds the plant life around us that turns it back into the oxygen we breathe again.

Give and take is the foundation of life, and it’s no different for creativity and writing.

As a writer, I take things in from life around me. The people, the places, the nature, the communion of prayer. These things feed my spirit and enable me to spend energy on writing. I pour what I receive across the page as I try to give order to thoughts and paint pictures with words.

Next comes a really amazing part. Other people take in the things that I write. Maybe not many, but a few. Even one is enough to continue this relationship.

Is their reaction negative or positive? Either way, there is an exchange.

They read my words, they take them in. Is their reaction negative or positive? Either way, there is an exchange. Do they leave a ‘like’ or a comment? Do they simple ghost through the pages of my website? Even if they do not engage with me, they give a tinny bit, a marker that says, someone was there and read my work. It’s a spark of energy shared with a computer keyboard or phone screen.

This give from a reader can go even further if they use their finances to bless me and buy my book or artwork. That is a HUGE give. It tells me not only have they read my work, but they found it worthy enough to spend money.

The financial blessing enables me to give more of my writing to the world, and maybe even bless my family with a little extra for household necessities.

So the branches of give and take grow even wider.

There is a step further a reader can go, they can share my work. By leaving a review, they bless my heart with words of encouragement, or maybe correction. Either way, there is give there. They give not only to me the writer but also to others who might read their review and decide if my work is worth the time to read it. So the branches of give and take grow even wider.

It becomes a circle when the writer takes in enough again to create something new. A cycle, and that cycle is a beautiful thing.

My personal place is that cycle changes. Sometimes I am the writer, but I also experience being the reader. I take in what other people create and give back to them. Another connection, a community of creativity.

When was the last time you gave?

What did you create? When was the last time you engaged? Did a writer’s words stir your emotions so much you had to share them? When was the last time you bought a book or artwork? Did you even know you are a part of a web of creative energy?

You are.

We all are.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef


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The Art of Remembering/The Edge of Humanity Magazine

I have always enjoyed learning about others, other cultures, other peoples, other places. The Edge of Humanity Magazine has been a great place to see glimpses of others, and their daily lives, through the photography, art, poetry, and articles they highlight. I particularly enjoy the art, and poetry.

Since it’s a magazine I have followed for quite a while, it thrilled me when they accepted my non-fiction piece ‘The Art Of Remembering’. They have added it to their Human Condition category, and I feel it’s found a great home there.

‘The Art Of Remembering’ was written in memory of my Grandfather. My fondest memories are of him working in his carpentry shop, making his own forms of Art. I encourage you to visit The Edge of Humanity’s Website, read my contribution, and also enjoy the huge library of humanity they share.

Mary Grace van der Kroef


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Our Need for Your Story

Did you know you have a story to tell?

It doesn’t matter how average you think you might be, you have a unique story all your own. No one has lived the same life or felt the same emotions. No one sees the world in quite the same way as YOU.

It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, nor your level of education. There is a story inside of you, and it’s important.

What’s your story?

It could be as simple as that casserole recipe your grandmother taught you how to make, and the things you both talked about while she taught you.

It could be your story is more of a question, something you long to know the answer to, and your quest to find it. Did you find it? Will you find it? Maybe, maybe not. That is a story.

Sure, not everyone may want to know your story. But for every story, there is an audience. Be it ever so small, it’s there.

Telling your story takes courage. It means being vulnerable. Are we brave enough to tell our stories? Not all stories are dark and painful, dramatic, or awe-inspiring. Some are quite ordinary.

Have you ever watched the movie, It’s a Wonderful life? I know many people who make it a tradition to watch this classic in the bright glow of a Christmas tree. It truly is a powerful story. But what makes it so powerful? Simple truth.

An ordinary life has reach and meaning beyond itself. We all touch others in ways we do not realize. We leave holes when we are gone, that we will never know about. There are stories behind our ordinary selves. Beautiful stories, stories worth hearing, reading, and seeing. Stories we can and should learn from.

What’s your story?

Don’t discount it and it’s power.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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