Friday, March 30, 2012


An Author Needs a Teachable Spirit

A teachable spirit is a major key to success in all areas of your life–family, work, any kind of relationship. You obtain wisdom when you become teachable. Giftedness is a dime a dozen, teachableness (Writers like to create their own words sometimes.) is a great treasure.

All through the book of Proverbs, we are admonished to learn. We can’t do that if we don’t have a teachable spirit. Pride, independence or rebellion, and insecurity lead to an unteachable spirit.

When we have a teachable spirit, we graciously accept correction. We seek wise counsel. We submit to authority and stay accountable. How does this apply to our writing lives?

Seeking wise counsel from the right people will help us grow in our craft. Critique partners can be a major asset as we grow. Use critique partners who understand the call of God on your life. They need to be honest in their assessment of what you wrote. Not someone who will flatter and not someone who will tear you down. Always filter what you’re told through the Lord. Just because you listen to the partner doesn’t mean you must accept every single thing they say. That person might not understand what you’re trying to say or might not recognize your voice or the voice of your character. You need balance. But always be open to learning from every critique partner God brings into your life.

Others who will be wise counselors in your life are editors. Those you’re trying to sell to as well as those who have bought your book.

Two things you need to understand about editors are: It is an editor’s job to make books better.
And without authors, editors wouldn’t have a job. You should form a mutually beneficial working partnership. When that has happened in my life, my books have been better for the cooperation.

The key to your success as a writer is having a teachable spirit–but keep everything in perspective, in balance, and in Jesus.

Copyright 2012 – Lena Nelson Dooley

Sometimes it's hard to listen to other people. Who do you handle getting constructive critiques that you might not agree with?

1 comment:

Jillian Kent said...

Hi Lena,
I always listen and try to understand what the person critiquing my work is saying. I don't go on the defensive if it's not good stuff, although my initial thought may be, "I don't think I want to do that."

Then I let that information marinate for awhile, maybe a couple days, maybe a couple weeks or longer.

I make the leap to take or reject the advise after careful consideration.