The Weeping Writer
Someone has provided criticism about my work in progress, and the one nerve that can’t stand to hear anything negative is the one that, at that particular moment, is exposed. The words, no matter how well-meaning, strike the end of that nerve like a drink of cold water on an aching tooth!
The pain is compounded by my own negative thoughts. I can’t write this story. I was never meant to write. Why am I doing this anyway? This hurts too much. I’m going to give up because it’s easier than going on.
Oh, I’ll waller (wallow to those of you who are not from the South) for a while. After all, I’ve blown up the balloons. I’ve ordered the cake. The ice cream is in the freezer. Why not enjoy my pity party? Sometimes, I invite others into the room by sharing my heartfelt feelings that I will soon discover are only painful for the moment. They will pass. The roller coaster car will clanging upward, the light will shine, and as the song goes, the future is so bright I’ll have to wear shades.
Only when I look back on those moments of utter devastation do I remember that I invited the criticism because I need to grow. However, tough criticism, no matter how truthful and nicely given, stings like the dickens. If I slam on the brakes of the downward spiraling coaster, get out of the car, and walk away from what has brought such pain and anguish, leaving to return to it when the exposed nerve has seeped beneath the usually rhino-like writing skin, I find that the words aren’t that harsh after all. Many times, I discover groundbreaking truths that bring an added dimension to my writing.
In these times, I recall another individual whose life puts it all into perspective to me. Though I am in no way insinuating that I am a prophet, I remember Jeremiah. He is referred to as the weeping prophet. Why shouldn’t he have wept. God had called him to preach to those who would not repent. God asked him to do some things that mere mortal eyes would have looked upon as bizarre. I’m reminded that Jeremiah took a lot of criticism in his time.
No doubt Jeremiah had his moments of self-pity, but he kept going, and bless his heart (as we also say in the South), the negative words he received were never meant as encouragement. To say that the punishment he endured was unbearable is a vast understatement.
In praising the Lord that Jeremiah’s path isn’t mine, though, I’m reminded that this little writer of stories has never said or written anything so profoundly important as the words of Jeremiah’s prophecy.
Then I think about the one similarity I have with Jeremiah: we work for the same awesome God who cares as deeply about my writing journey as he did for Jeremiah’s vast ministry. After all, the work is His, and when He sends criticism my way, He expects me to deal with it.
I am most often blessed in the criticism that comes my way, but even if I am not, the same God who lit the path for Jeremiah lights the way for me.
Fay Lamb (The Tactical Editor) is an author, editor, and writing coach.
Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the newest A Dozen Apologies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.
Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.
Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.