Time for another proverb for writers.
It’s not often we read the word “stupid” in the Bible, especially directed against ourselves.
But it’s there in Proverbs 12:1. I checked four different translations and they all had it. The Contemporary English Version seems the most direct: To accept correction is wise, to reject it is stupid.
One could say any version with the word stupid in it is pretty direct. Kind of like stepping on the wrong end of a rake.
That rejection letter has some gems of correction. That pitch session that didn’t go well offers correction, not necessarily about our book but about how we present our ideas, and ourselves. The critique group that doesn’t get us is offering correction. The writing coach and the editor are there to help us. Rejecting their correction is stupid.
I’ve learned from experience: Don’t be stupid.
Don’t reject the correction or its source because it doesn’t agree with us, because it doesn’t appreciate the beauty of our work. Accept that our work isn’t beautiful to everyone.
We get better when we learn, when we seek input from others, when we risk sharing our stories.
Why do I submit to critique groups and writing coaches and mentors? If I do it to be praised, I might as well stand in front of a mirror and read it to myself.
Admit not everyone will praise our work. Recognize some are genuinely motivated to help us. Those are the ones we listen to. They’re the ones we yoke with on our writing journey because they encourage and challenge us to correct our writing and get better.
God wants us to be the best we can be at what he’s called us to do. He puts others in our life to teach and correct us. Pray over the correction and seek his counsel to pull out those gems he wants us to have.
And don’t be stupid.