July 13, 2014

My Editing Journey by T.L. Wiens

When I started writing, I didn’t like editing at all. I didn’t know how to receive criticism. It felt like a personal attack. But times have changed.

During my last meeting with my local writer’s group, I got praise. In fact, for twenty minutes or so, I listened to compliments on my writing. I’ve never been more uncomfortable. A part of me doesn’t want to hear praise. Praise is like reaching the top of Mount Everest—there’s no higher peak to attain to.

I’ve learned not to take criticism personally and have come to realize most editors really want you to improve. And some praise is good although for me I still prefer not to get it.

Writing seems like a solitary journey between author and page but in reality, we writers need the help of editors and critiques to reach our mountaintop. When’s the last time you heard of a solitary mountain climber reaching the top of Mount Everest?


  1. Thank you, anonymous writer, for these insightful words. I too have noticed that praise is a double-edged sword.

    As Christians, thought, we can turn to the Lord for affirmation in our writing; then to people for needed critique. It's a delicate balance, though, juggling pride, humility and vulnerability. May the Lord keep us all balanced.

  2. I think most of us are afraid of praise--fearful it will feed our pride, or unsure we don't really deserve it.
    If the same group offers critique--which is often just as hard to take--and it is an honest balance, then both are probably genuine and helpful to us.

  3. This group is more prone to suggesting improvements than praise. It was a very humbling experience. I know "I can do all through things through Christ who strengthens me." He is the true talent.

  4. Thanks for the encouragement Bobbi. Yes, it is a delicate balance.

  5. Sometimes it is more difficult to receive praise than criticism, but both are beneficial if we have the right perspective on them. Adding one more note to the praise group - I like your brief posts Tammy!

  6. Very true. We do need each other, for both praise and criticism.

  7. Thumper's father's advice (if you can't say anything nice, don't say nothing at all) doesn't always work well for serious writers. In order to grow in our craft we need to hear a balance, so you are right on, Tammy. Kind words do encourage, but helpful critiquing can go a long way to help a body really know if words work (or not). Good job.

  8. We writers are most critical of ourselves, often judging too harshly, but a critique group can really help us to know where we hit the mark and where we miss it. I agree, as a writer and editor, that both are essential. Some small part of us wants to know we did something well and that gives us courage to continue on the stuff that doesn't work well.


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