by Nancy J. Farrier
Have you ever worked hard to make something only to have others find fault? For instance, if you spend hours cooking a meal from a new recipe and your family sits there looking at the food with the expression that says, “You want me to eat that?” Those moments always feel so personal because of the work and time you’ve invested.
I am going through the editing process on book two of my Land of Promise series, Ranchero. I don’t know if you are familiar with the editing process, but after weeks, and often months of writing a book, then more weeks of self-editing, an author sends their story to an editor. The editor then looks at the story with fresh eyes, finding everything from plot holes or inconsistencies, to misspelled words or typos.
Every time I send off a finished manuscript, I have the hope there will be few, if any, changes. Perhaps this time I will have a perfect book, polished and ready to go to my readers. So far, this hasn’t happened. I believe that is good, although it isn’t always pleasant. Sometimes, it’s downright embarrassing to see my mistakes.
I have never enjoyed criticism. I used to get pretty bristly when someone found fault with anything I did. Now, I wonder if God allowed me to become a writer so I would learn to accept constructive criticism that is meant to improve what I’ve created. I know now, that if I believe every word I write is perfect, there is no way for God to continue to mold me into His image. At that point, I am far from humble.
When my editor catches mistakes like—The afternoon wained… and changes it to, The afternoon waned…, I am grateful. When she notices my characters continually chuckle, or rub their nose or roll their eyes, she reminds me to vary the mannerisms giving my characters more depth, and I am thankful. When I capitalize Uncle and should have used uncle, she catches that and sends me a reminder of the grammar rule. I am happy to have her help to improve and as I go through her corrections and reminders, my writing skills are strengthened for the next book I write.
Each book edited is a learning experience in being humbled. While I’m still not excited about my family turning up their nose at a meal I’ve worked hard to cook – not that it happens often – I have learned to appreciate, and welcome, constructive criticism. It’s a great way for me to grow into a better person as well as a better writer.
“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.” Prov. 15:33 NKJV