by Sharron K. Cosby
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”
(Proverbs 22:6, NKJV).
At age six or seven, I received my first bicycle which included training wheels. The extra wheels caused uneven and unwieldy wobbling. Uneasiness replaced the intended confidence they meant to inspire. I learned to ride a bike with the aid of those training wheels, but the clunky appendages motivated me to learn fast and get rid of the aids.
The day finally came when Daddy removed the stabilizers and ran beside me. He held the bike steady until I signaled to, “Let go.” I remember the unhindered exhilaration of sailing along the sidewalk. I had mastered balancing on two rubber tires without assistance I neither wanted nor appreciated.
Learning the writing craft is similar to riding a bike with training wheels. We first must learn and rely on the restrictions imposed by guidelines or rules of grammar We may wish to view our writing as flawless and immune from critiques. A writer may consider an editor’s comments as intrusive to their unique writing style and dismiss them. But we need them.
Many apply Proverbs 22:6 to parenting children. Teach your children the right way to live when they’re young and when they’re older, they will remember the instructions. This verse can also apply to us as writers.
Our training comes in the form of critique groups, writers conferences, critique partners, writing craft books, and reading books in our preferred genre. As beginners, we soak up the wisdom of experienced writers—what works and what doesn’t.
Critique groups afford us the opportunity to have multiple trainers as we learn and hone our craft. We increase our knowledge when we participate and offer feedback, even when we’re newbies to writing.
There may come a time in our writing lives when we find the balance between the rigid confines of rules and stretching our writing wings. But just like a young child nurtured by its parents, we won’t deviate too far, but will return to our training.
Father, thank you for training and guidelines that are ultimately for our good and your glory. Thank you for mentors who offer guidance and wisdom along our writing journeys. Amen.
Sharron Cosby is a proud Alabama native transplanted to the sands of Florida. She is an award-winning author and loves speaking about her family’s journey through addiction and other hope-filled topics. Her book, Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90, is a devotional for families who love an addict. Connect with Sharron at www.SharronCosby.com