I love to write! The joy of creating something completely new. The challenge of finding just the right words to express the thought. The hopeful anticipation that what’s coming out of my heart will eventually enter into someone else’s and be a blessing to them.
I love to write…but I hate to be edited.
When my first book was being prepped for publication a few years ago, that whole process was new to me. I had written many things for many years, but I had always written what I wanted to write and then “edited” myself. This was the first time someone else was going over my work.
This guy was changing things! He was taking out words that I loved and rewording phrases that I had wrestled with for days to get them just right! This guy had the audacity to make suggestions! To ME! About MY work!
Who in the world did he think he was?!?
After all, this was my own precious baby. I had conceived it and I had carried it around for a long time. I had labored hard to deliver it into the world. It was mine!
But even your own baby eventually needs to interact with some other people in order to be healthy and whole. No kid who grows up in isolation will ever reach his full potential. As much as mom or dad loves him, somebody else needs to contribute something to his life if he’s going to be everything he can be.
I said that I hate to be edited, but that’s an overstatement. I don’t hate it. I can’t honestly say that I love it yet, but I don’t hate it anymore because I’m learning its value.
If you can never be corrected, you will never be perfected.
I know this is true, yet I still struggle with correction. But at least now I realize that the editor brings fresh, objective eyes to what was formed in the isolated incubator of my brain. He knows the industry standards and all the do’s and don’ts that I’m not aware of. He’s not infatuated with my creative choices like I am—he just wants the work to be the best it can be so it can reach as many people as possible. So I reluctantly turn my writing over and pray for the humility to receive what I know I need (but still don’t really want).
If you struggle with taking correction, here are a few points of focus that will help.
First of all, remember that loving correction is coming from a place of…well, love! If someone who cares about you is critiquing you, keep in mind that their motive is not to destroy you. Don’t take it personally and don’t turn on the messenger. Your friends and family generally want what’s best for you. They may not always say it in the best way, but try to get past how it’s being said and deal with what is being said.
And even if the criticism is coming from a genuine “hater” in your life (of which there are far fewer than we like to think, by the way), if there’s truth in what they’re saying, there’s truth in what they’re saying! The source of the message doesn’t negate the substance of the message. God uses many different ways to reach His people, and even the correction that comes through the criticism of those who hate you is still a manifestation of how much He loves you.
Finally, focus on being the best possible version of yourself, the greatest you that you can be. When that becomes the goal, you realize that you’ve got a long way to go and that you need some help to get there. If “good enough” is good enough, you’ll never get to great. So often we settle for “not bad” and “pretty good.” We fall in love with the view from the plateau we’ve already reached and forget that there are more mountains to climb. Now if greatness is really your goal, then the way up is down. The Scripture still says, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).
You need help to get better.
You need experienced people’s insight to overcome your limitations and to close the gaps in your knowledge.
You need a strong, respected voice to call you back to your senses when you start to lose your way.
You need other eyes to see the mistakes you’ve been making for so long that you’ve gone blind to them.
To be your best, you need help to get better.
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