Critique. The word strikes fear in a new writer, or even an old sage. What we’ve written is our baby, born from the depths of our being. Thus, crossing the threshold into an established critique group can feel rather daunting. We glance at the onlookers and wonder what they’re thinking. “Who’s this newbie?” “I hope they’re worth my time.” “I hope their writing isn’t juvenile.” I hope they accept me.
We wait with expectation as each person hands back our masterpiece. We pray they loved our prose, whether it be for an article, novel or our speaking manuscript.
But then we look down.
Red lettering litters our pages.
Like the wounds of a surgeon, our words, entire sentences or—gasp—entire paragraphs are lined through. The rest of the hour seems like an eternity before it’s time to leave and we can dash out the door. Hopes tramped upon, like the proverbial puppy with his tail between his legs, we head home to our safe haven and lock the door.
If you’ve been to a critique group at some point that “puppy” was you. The question is, do we want an honest assessment of our writing or not? Do we want our words to shine, to grab the reader/audience and hold their attention? If our words don’t do that, we’re wasting our time. Readers will trash our work before they get past page one, or worse, our audience will start playing games on their phones in the middle of our talk!
Like it or not critiques and rewrites are essential.
Ever been in a writing group where a new writer’s work had potential but their tender heart couldn’t handle constructive criticism and they quit? If we’re honest, we’ve all been stung by at least one harsh critique. But we want our work to be the best it can be, right? Then we must develop a bit of toughness to endure this journey to publication/speaking or those we’re trying to reach will miss the blessing of what God has put on our heart.
My friend John is fond of saying, “Take my critique with a bag o’ salt.” That’s the attitude we writers need. We dig into those rewrites and weigh the advice given. Keep what’s helpful and toss the rest.
Once we discover new ways of using a cliché or we’ve written a sentence that sings … timbres of excitement burst within. We come to understand the importance of critiques and rewrites, and we realize a treasure of words resides within us that until now have been untapped. Rewrites are no longer tedious, but fun. Our writing improves.
If it takes five years of critiques and rewrites to get a novel into shape, we must persevere through it. Trust me. It’s worth the time. My debut novel Kellen’s Hope took five and a half years of surgery to remove the flab and get it into action, and it’s receiving four and five star reviews, so don’t give up. Perseverance is a key we writers/speakers had better not lose. It’s all for the glory of God.
My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. Psalm 45:1 ESV
Novelist and inspirational speaker, Danie Marie, is blessed with the gift of evangelism and has discipled many over the years. She’s a graduate of the 2012 Christian Communicators Conference, has attended writers conferences in Canada, Colorado, and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in California.
She loves engaging her readers and drawing them into the lives of her characters, through inspiration, encouragement, and to entertain with the hope of imprinting a lasting message of hope.
Connect with Danie at: www.facebook.com/DanieMarie.author, www.speaking-hope-healing.com