For writers, times of discouragement are a given–whether it’s a dry spell, mounting rejection slips, or not being as far along in our writing journey as we hope to be. In moments like these, negative thoughts can hover over us like a thick cloud.
Yet, if we let them, these periods of discouragement and waiting can prove beneficial in our overall writing experience. It’s what we do with them that counts.
Following are some tips on how to make these setbacks work to our favor.
Develop a Thick Skin
When someone criticizes us or our writing, our first reaction is to become defensive or hurt. Instead of personalizing comments, realize no matter how hard we try, we’ll never please everyone. The Lord created us with varying likes and dislikes. Don’t allow rejections or negative comments to discourage you. Rather, expect them to come, and determine to continue to write what the Lord places on your heart to write.
Become a Gold-Digger
We’ll never grow as people or as writers unless we’re willing to accept constructive criticism. When I find myself in disagreement with a person’s comment–whether it be from a contest judge, editor, reviewer, or critique partner–I try to discern at least one take-away aspect I can apply to my writing. There is generally something of value there, if I’m willing to dig deep to find the hidden treasure within.
As writers, it’s often hard to view our work objectively. We put so much of ourselves into our writing, it’s difficult to see beyond our own point of view. Critique partners are great at drawing out areas in our writing that are unclear or need improvement. At times, we may not agree with their assessment, and have the option of ignoring their advice. But if more than one person makes a similar comment, it’s best to take heed. As you edit, take a step back and try to view your writing as a reader would.
Undoubtedly the most important tool a person has for withstanding criticism is prayer. When we lift our concerns to the Lord and ask for His guidance, He can supply the confidence and reassurance we so long for and need. Keep Him first in all you write and do, and He will certainly bless your journey.
How have you grown from someone’s critical comments? I’d love to hear your story!
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Read more of Cynthia’s writing at the Women’s Ministry group blog: Putting on the New.
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