As a writer, I’ve learned that seeking and embracing feedback can be one of the fastest ways to improve or even acquire writing skills.
The final result will be better.
I know this from experience, but the manuscript massacre can be painful. And the progress can feel SLOW. So, when I came across a journal entry from a few years ago, when I was posting my work regularly to ACFW’s Scribes online critique group, it was encouraging to see how far I’ve come.
I’ve been putting off edits for a chapter my critique partners chewed up. One liked the change of scenery but thought it wasn’t enough to help the flat characters who had no depth or appeal. Another had a lot of trouble picturing the scenery and understanding where they were in space. The third pointed out how many times my characters chuckled and nodded.
Elbows on my desk, forehead in my hands. I wanted to cry, but the tears didn’t come when I closed my eyes to pray instead frustration bubbled up. “Can I just complain to you, God? How could you call me to write when it’s obviously not my skill set? What were you thinking? I can’t do this. You can’t be pleased by me spending all this time writing if it’s not going to produce any real fruit.”
The song, I am not alone by Kari Jobe streamed on my computer. A song that had become meaningful to me during my battle with breast cancer.
“I am not alone. You will go before me. You will never leave me.”
Tears wet my lids. How could I forget 2 Corinthians 12:9?
God shines the brightest in my weakness. His power is made perfect in weakness. “So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.”
In fact, it’s just like Him to use me to write, and He’s going to be with me every step of the way. He’s already showing me by the awesome team of writers who have committed to helping me.
And help they did, in a BIG way. You can see it in another entry a year later.
I can see it clearly when I assemble all their feedback. One helps me say it pretty and breathes out encouragement, another makes sure it’s clean and clear, while one, picks. She doesn’t let me slide something irrelevant in or be lazy. Ever. So many voices have gone into the finished product and I’m so grateful to each and every one of them. And with their help, I’ve found my own voice.
What I didn’t realize then was the “finished project” wasn’t my novel—it’s me. God’s working to get me where I need to be and if you’re a Christian, He’s doing that for you, too. Not just in writing but in life.
I’m thankful to my amazing critique partners, but most of all, I’m thankful to God for accepting me as his own. After all, He never promised His path would be easy. He only promised to walk it with us.
Next time you feel discouraged, take a step back and remember how far you’ve come. Then trust God to get you home.