All of us face criticism in one way or another. Evaluations at work, grades and comments in school, expectations from our parents, and let’s not forget those ever insightful comments from our spouses (and children).
Criticism is one thing every writer must learn to deal with constructively.
Positive, helpful, criticism disciplines us; helps us grow and mature in our professions, our family responsibilities and our Christian walk. Hebrews 12 tells us that discipline is always good for us even though no discipline is enjoyable while it is happening.
As a writer, feedback and critiques have helped me grow. Early on in my writing career, the hardest decision was taking the risk to share what I had written with someone else, to ask them to point out what was wrong with it, to tell me how it could be improved.
But I needed to know. God called me to write, so I did. Then he suggested, nudged, directed, and finally, commanded that I put my words out there, to get instruction and feedback.
Looking back, this decision to seek feedback marked my first step in taking myself seriously as a writer. I signed up for the Christian Writers Guild Apprentice program where I actually paid someone to criticize me.
I’ve discovered when God tells me to do something, he gives me what I need to carry it out. In my writing, he has brought people across my path who are just what I need. I have learned something from everyone who has critiqued my writing, way more from some than from others. From a few, I learned how not to critique but that’s another story. Each contributes in ways small and large to my growth as a writer and a Christian.
My lesson learned: risk and ask for feedback, receive the criticism with an open mind and a thick skin, and trust God to give you the discernment about which of the criticism to keep and which to discard.