I was blessed to be able to attend the ACFW national conference this weekend in Nashville, along with many other wonderful writers. It was a great time of learning, worshiping, and making real-life connections.
But, of course, it was also a time for many to take steps toward selling the writing they’ve labored over. One of my goals for the trip was to get feedback. In a tough market, is my idea viable? Is my writing good enough?
Any time we open ourselves up to a critique of that sort, it can be scary. Confirmation is exhilarating, or it can be painful if the response isn’t as good as we hope. So, what’s a writer to do when the conversations we hope will affirm end up letting us down?
First, don’t respond with emotion. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” It’s so easy to let those emotions get the best of me when I’m disappointed or hurt! But, along with being unprofessional, that isn’t the way God wants His people to handle life’s twists. Dig deep for the strength to respond with grace.
Then, take a step back and process the critique. Yes, it’spossible that the opinion you received isn’t valid. Maybe the person didn’t have the whole picture or didn’t understand your vision for your writing. But, then again, you may find with time that even comments that seem harsh at the moment have value. Really give the ideas a chance to process. Often, I’ve found there’s a way to incorporate those critiques, after all.
This is a valuable skill whether you're published or not. It's always hard to open a document, knowing there will be critiques from an agent or editor. But it's not personal. They want to produce the best stories possible, the type of books people will read over and over for years to come, just like I do. So, if you've come up against a criticism that stings, give it a chance. Really think and pray over it. And you might find wisdom buried inside.
Abbey Downey never expected her love for writing to turn into a career, but she’s thankful for the chance to write inspirational romance as Mollie Campbell. A life-long Midwestern girl, Abbey lives in Central Indiana, where her family has roots back to the 1840s. She couldn’t be happier spending her days putting words on paper and hanging out with her husband, two kids, and a rather enthusiastic beagle.
You can check out Abbey’s books at www.abbeydowney.com