Saturday, June 13, 2020

Pursuing Beauty in Your Writing

by BethVogt @BethVogt

When other writers talk, I like to sit back and listen. Often I take notes. Perspective is a powerful catalyst for change, and another writer’s take on the writing journey broadens my understanding. I come away encouraged. Wiser. Motivated to try something new.

Sometimes I’m sitting in a workshop, gleaning from another writer’s experience. The past few months, I’ve participated in Zoom chats with authors around the world as we’ve navigated publishing during a pandemic. Earlier this week, I watched our own Edie Melson during a TV interview where she reminded me of a vital truth: Beauty takes time.

Her exact words? “The beauty doesn’t come out in the writing. It comes out in the rewriting.” 

Whether we write nonfiction or fiction, whether we write for adults or teens or children, whether we write romance or sci-fi or speculative or women’s fiction or YA, we all want our words to embody beauty.

But beauty don’t come easy. It’s not instantaneous. It requires effort. For writers, effort equals rewriting.

That icky first draft? It’s supposed to happen. It’s part of the process. All those words we write and then delete and try again? Each word is needed in our pursuit of beauty. 

We’re not supposed to be content with what we first write. Our initial attempt never matches up with what we want to say because we’re striving for more, for those striking words and sentences and paragraphs and pages that “ping!” with us and with our readers.

A frustrating first draft doesn’t mean we’re doing anything wrong. It means we now have something to work with so that we can make it right. We can cut and paste and polish until we find the beauty in our story. 

Trust me, it’s there.

We’re not pursuing perfection. That’s an impossible goal in any area of our life. But beauty? That is attainable. We each have our own distinctive beauty displayed within the pages of our books by our voice, our word choice, our pacing, our themes … how we interpret the writing craft.  

The next time you’re frustrated because the words aren’t right or because you have to tear that article or that scene or that manuscript apart again … 

… breathe in and breathe out. 

Remember you’re not doing anything wrong. 

You’re pursuing beauty in your writing.


Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Having authored nine contemporary romance novels and novellas, The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series with Tyndale House Publishers, releasers May 2020. Other books in the women’s fiction series include Things I Never Told You, which won the 2019 AWSA Award for Contemporary Novel of the Year, and Moments We Forget. Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015RITA®finalist. An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Learn How to Write a Novel and The Write Conversation and also enjoys speaking to writers group and mentoring other writers. Visit Beth at


  1. Beth,

    Thank you for this wise article about pursuing beauty in our writing and not perfection. It ewas very thought-provoking--even for someone like me who has been writing for years.

    With Gratitude,

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    1. Good morning, Terry! Edie's words encouraged me. They were such a great reminder that beauty takes time and to allow the writing process to be just that: a process.

  2. Why is this so hard to remember when I am trudging through a first draft? Perfect timing, Beth. I'm about 15K words from the beautification process...which always makes me nervous. "Trust me, it's there." Thank you for that encouragement!

    1. Karen, It's the old "Can't see the forest for the trees" truth. Cheering you on as you write!

  3. Thank you, Beth, I love this! It's such a good reminder to focus on beauty. I'm knee deep into a challenging project and have been getting discouraged, but I will find that beauty and let go of the rest. Writing is hard work--if it were easy, everyone would do it.

  4. Crystal: I understand how writing gets discouraging. All writers deal with that. May you find the beauty of your words.

  5. Thank you, Beth, for permission to write those horrible first drafts, AND the encouragement to keep at the revisions to produce beauty with our words!