If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored. Psalm 13:18 NLT
One of the hardest things a writer learns is to receive criticism and correction. Unfortunately, some never do.
James Scott Bell refers to it as growing a rhino skin. Jerry B. Jenkins advises authors to develop a thick skin.
This doesn’t mean we make ourselves immune to criticism.
It means we make the time to develop the attitude of receiving criticism without personalizing it. We look at criticism and correction as ways to improve our work.
The first step is to realize our work can be improved. If we fail to acknowledge this, we are heading to poverty and disgrace. And we are dishonoring our God who called us to write in the first place.
God doesn’t give us the words. He gives us the inspiration. We give him our obedience and our talent. Part of our obedience is to learn the craft and to work to make our writing the best it can be.
This means being open to changing it. Not just our own tweaking, either. We need to show our work to others for constructive and useful feedback.
We need to learn to accept correction. When I began this crazy journey of writing, I had to learn to swallow my pride and my ego. And I needed to learn to overcome my fear: fear of rejection, of being a failure, of being ridiculed for even thinking I could write.
God led me to the right early critiquers, people who knew how to give correction with just the right amount of firmness and with an eye to helping improve my work.
My two cents: Seek the perspective of different eyes reading our words, of offering suggestions to make it better. We don’t have to apply every suggestion. Learn to discern what’s valid and what isn’t.
Pray and trust God to lead us to the right critiquers for us: those who have our best interests at heart, those who want to help us grow as writers.
How has having others look at your work helped improve your writing?
Henry, what great counsel and marvelous insight. I hope you don’t mind, I’m going to post your website on my FB and send this to my teen and big folks edit groups. As always, thank you for words of wisdom this morning.
Great thoughts – thanks for sharing
Good word, Henry. Thanks. For me, the biggest struggle was overcoming my insecurity to even show anyone my work in the first place. That’s rooted in pride too, right? Now I can’t get enough of the critique of others!
I agree with your two cents! It’s a great idea to seek different readers for our writing, and to discern what can be changed and what works. Thanks for another helpful post, Henry!
I consider constructive critting on my work INVALUABLE to success. The more diverse the better. Good post, Henry.
I’m honored that you want to share my post. I hope they find it helpful.
Thank you, Lyndie.
You’re right, Teri. Pride feeds the fear that makes us hesitate to seek criticism and feedback. Opening ourselves to the comments of others can be very humbling. Yet humble is what we strive for in order to be an effective servant for God.
You’re welcome. Sometimes, I wish we could video some of our critique sessions to share with others. Thank you for making our sessions work so well.
Thanks, Julie. I need those other eyes to show me what I can’t see in my own work.