Growing Through Critique
by Leigh DeLozier
(Proverbs 1:5, NIV).
When I began my writing journey, one piece of advice appeared everywhere I turned–join a critique group. Experienced writers said the perspective of others adds depth to your work. Facing a submission deadline helps you prioritize your writing. Working with other people improves your craft.
I heard and believed everything they said. But a long time passed before I took their advice.
Why? Writing remained a very personal thing between God and me, a way for me to draw closer to and learn from him. My family had no idea what I wrote during the wee hours of the night while they slept. Sharing those words with someone else made me vulnerable. I wasn’t ready to expose myself that way.
I eventually got brave and joined an online critique group for Christian writers. Several days after submitting a chapter I sat staring at an email, wanting to open the attachment with my first critique but also dreading what I might find.
Would they cover it with red edits? Would there be too many comments to make sense of the advice? Would my new critique partner tell me to find a different hobby?
After a few minutes, I took a deep breath to settle my nerves and whispered a prayer asking God to help me learn and be open-minded.
When I opened the file, I saw that while my critique partner had offered suggestions and corrections, she also included encouraging comments. “I like this description.” “I know how she feels!” “This is a good start.”
My heart soared. Maybe writing for God wasn’t such a far-fetched prospect after all. Maybe those precious nighttime words weren’t meant to be kept to myself. I said another prayer, this time thanking God for my new critique partners and their willingness to teach me.
Being vulnerable enough to share our words with others and ask for their advice isn’t always easy. But as we humble ourselves to absorb perspectives and learn, we take a step closer to being the writer—and person—God is molding us to be.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of words and the joy that comes from writing your messages. Thank you for the people who help me improve and allow me to do the same for them. Amen.
*Another version of this devotion was previously published in Cross & Quill.
Leigh DeLozier is a corporate writer/editor by day and a Christian writer, blogger, and book reviewer by night. She is the author of three devotional books, a member of ACFW, and president of the Word Weavers-Conyers chapter. She and her husband live in Georgia, where they’re adjusting to life as empty nesters. Connect with her at www.AuthorLeighDeLozier.com and www.CleanFictionBookReviews.com.