If I believe I am created to write, as an artist entrusted with words, then am I also designed to be daring enough to receive the necessary criticism? Can I humbly and graciously listen to advice that will improve the mechanics of my writing or perhaps the essence of my ideas? Can I acknowledge that this writing gift has within it a challenge to accept evaluation?
If I write, then can I be daring enough to receive how someone else interprets my highlights and perception of this world?
A sculptor forms the consistency of his clay to facilitate how he fashions and molds his design into a lifelike representation. A painter employs select brushes and mediums to bring his pictures to light, blending and applying contrasting shades and tones. An actor memorizes lines to ensure that he represents the role on stage, using voice inflections and body movements to convincingly portray his part. A musician selects notes to describe how he hears melody and harmony, to create a deliverance of sounds that evoke emotional responses. A chef dreams up a gourmet recipe to showcase how he tantalizes palates, stirring and mixing ingredients into a savory concoction.
As a writer I articulate language to deliver descriptions, to provide relatable and meaningful images that can demonstrate how the world can be interpreted. And as with all artists, I agree to be vulnerable. When I release my words to readers my chosen written highlights become my sculpture, my painting, my character, my composition, and my banquet.
Because I write, I can accept the challenge to be daring enough to receive the scrutiny assigned to my writing. I courageously throw my words against someone else’s knowledge base, whether it is strictly grammatical or broadly experiential. I rely on the feasibility of the words I select, and respectively submit my writing to a critical audience. How will my words be perceived? Like beads on strands of sparkling thread or as blobs of paint that run together on top of a saturated surface? Will someone array them and affirm their beauty, or will they blend together and lose their uniqueness?
Because I write, I can understand the need to be daring enough to receive the opinions of others and their suggestions for change. I admit it is easier to edit someone else’s writing than accept the editing of my own submissions. I tend to defend my ideas, my style, and my intentions. Sometimes I would rather refuse the editing process than alter the theme of my message or the choices in my sentence construction. But what purpose would that serve?
I do want to hear honest opinions from other writers and from readers. But I need to long for that as much as I long to write. If I cannot accept what comes back to me based on what I have sent out into the reading world, then my writing will remain stagnant and uninspired.
So perhaps, the question I need to ask is, who do I want to throw my words to and who will bounce them back to me with an honest response? Back and forth to the unknown audience who reads my blog? In fellowship with writers in a critique group? Under scrutiny of a respected and authorized editor? Will I receive criticisms with a receptive attitude that urges me to do the required editing and rewording? Will I persevere to craft a more inspired piece of writing?
I began by saying that I want to understand why I write. Why do I purposefully place myself in a vulnerable position in which I risk embarrassment, misunderstanding and rejection? Why do I trust that I can present written words that highlight this world? Why do I believe that I can literally pick up a word and feel its texture like a sculptor, see its luminescence like a painter, grasp its performance like an actor, hear its resonance like a musician, and taste its fulfillment like a chef?
As I embrace the ability to write, I understand that this gift must be both practiced and pursued if I want to truly live out God’s purposes for me. I pray for the desire to observe and sift through ideas for writing, and for the patience to welcome and to understand the feedback of reviews. Because I write may I continue in the challenge and the need to be daring enough to receive the criticism that is required to polish my written works for His glory.