Month: March 2017

How To Handle Critique

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Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young Write from the Deep Podcast How to Handle Critique

41 – How To Handle Critique

Few careers open you up to criticism and critique as being a writer. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how you could have written your book better. But the hard truth is that if you’re a writer, you can’t escape critiques and edits. Nor should you! Quality critiques and edits are your friends, helping you to strengthen your craft and share your message with excellence. So how do we learn to love critiques? Well, join us to learn exactly that!

Show Notes

Critique is an unavoidable occurrence in the publishing industry. Maybe you’re at a conference and you have an appointment with an editor, an agent, or a mentor, or maybe you’re just meeting with your critique group. Or for those of you who are published, you know those edits are coming!

While we’d all love to respond prayerfully, thoughtfully, and with a teachable heart and a willingness to work, we often…don’t. Instead, we can feel:

  • Discouraged
  • Resentful
  • Frustrated
  • Angry
  • Or we get caught up in feeding on affirmation

What hinders us from the positive, healthy attitude we want?

  • Fear – We don’t think we can do it. We worry that we don’t have the skills, etc.
  • Arrogance – We think we can do it without studying and learning the craft

What we need instead is a realignment of our understanding.

Writing is hard! Rewriting is hard! Give yourself a limited amount of time to be frustrated. Then take a hard look at the suggestions. Take the time to think, to pray, to get counsel. Read craft books. Visit reputable writing websites. Allow yourself the time you need to come to the solutions that can make your work better. It’s okay to not know how to fix something right away. What can unfortunately happen is that we panic because we don’t have the answers right now. But instead, we can learn to trust the process and trust that God is intimately involved and will give us the skills we need when we need them.

Make sure that you’re getting critique from people who know what they’re talking about, and think in terms of correction and redirection.

Three steps you can take to help you today

Remember this isn’t about you!

This is about the message God has given you, and the responsibility you have to share that with excellence.  2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.”

Recognize that critiques and editing are “iron sharpening iron.”

It’s as much about refining you as refining your craft, about teaching you to keep your focus on God and the task He’s given you, not about being right. “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:4-5

Remember that this is your story.

Critiques and editing are helpful, and can strengthen your craft. But if you have a sense, deep within, that what you’re being told isn’t how God wants you to share the story, hold to what God says. I’m not talking about craft so much but about the core of the message and story. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment. “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God.” 1 John 4:1

Final Thoughts

Critiques, editing, those are simply a part of the journey when God gives you the task to be a writer. They’re not meant to discourage, but to help and strengthen you. Ready yourself to receive them with the right heart and mindset. Listen, evaluate, and then work hard to refine and improve. And never forget that you’ve already done the hardest part of all—you wrote a book! It’s on the page, so to speak. Now it’s time to dig in and make it even stronger. Not to make yourself look good, but to ensure you are sharing the message God has given you with as much power and excellence as possible.


We want to hear from you!

Have you ever had a difficult critique?
What helped you handle it well?



Critique is not the enemy! Learn to appreciate—and even enjoy—it!

Spiritual Fuel to Build Strength and Endurance

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Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young Write from the Deep Podcast Spiritual Fuel

40 – Spiritual Fuel to Build Strength and Endurance

Are you using the right kinds of “spiritual fuel” to energize and strengthen your faith? Or are you consuming what seems like fuel, but is actually a corrosive that eats away at your spirit and endurance? Come join us as we discuss how to identify false spiritual fuel from the real deal—and where you can find true satisfaction for your soul.


We often talk about writing as a journey, but we don’t spend enough time focusing on the proper type of fuel we need for that journey. Everything we do in life requires energy, so we’re in a constant need for fuel. It’s never ending, until we die. But it’s not just physical fuel. We need the right kind if spiritual fuel to endure the things we encounter on a spiritual front. The problem is, there are good fuels out there, and harmful fuels. And we’re not always as discriminating as we need to be.

You can’t put regular gas into a diesel vehicle—it kills the engine. If you put diesel into a vehicle that runs on gas, same thing. Physically speaking, we have to feed our bodies the right kind of fuel for it to work as it was designed.

This applies to spiritual fuel as well. We have to use the right kind of spiritual fuel so that our hearts and spirits will “operate” as God intended, as He created them to operate, in faith and peace.

Problem is, too often we THINK we’re feeding on fuel, when in reality we’re feeding on things that corrode and destroy. Just as diesel will kill a gas-powered engine, putting gas in a diesel engine could actually cause it to explode, so feeding on false fuels—things that we think energize us spiritually, but in reality are corroding and destroying—can undermine our spiritual strength and endurance.


False fuels

  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Discouragement
  • Worry
  • Negativity

Whether we realize it or not, it’s easy to get caught up in these things. To feed on them. But it’s so hard to know when we’re doing this!


How can we recognize when we’re using the wrong fuel?

Ask ourselves:

  • What kinds of things are we saying? Is our talk centered on concerns? On wrongs done to us?
  • What do we feel? Angry, discouraged, frustrated?
  • What do we often hear? Sometimes we’re like a person at a buffet who only takes one food out of dozens, we may only hear the one negative comment out of ten positive things.
  • Where are our thoughts focused? What do we find ourselves thinking about? We can get deep grooves or patterns in our brains, and no matter what we start thinking about, we end up on the same thing.
  • What do those we trust say about us?


False Fuels have these things in common

  • They’re useless; they won’t create spark.
  • Or, more dangerous, they make us feel energized. But it’s the wrong kind of energy. It’s an energy that destroys and consumes us.
  • They suck us in like a vortex we can’t escape from. We cycle around and around.
  • They burden us rather than uplift us.
  • They turn our focus inward rather than toward God and others. Whenever we turn our focus inward, we’re focusing on the flesh, not on the spirit, therefore we don’t nurture or produce the fruit of the spirit.


What Spiritual Fuel Should We Feed On?

Jesus tells us what His food is in John 4:34.  “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work…”

  • This is about focus. About doing whatever it is that God has given us to do. This is where we get our energy from.
  • Focus on Jesus as being the source of our refreshment. “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
  • When we focus on what God has given us to do, we’re focused on Him and on His perspective, and not on ourselves.


Jesus also tells us in John 6:35 that we need to feed on Him. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…”

  • This is spiritual food that will sustain us, nurture our spirit, and grow the fruit of the spirit within us. We need to trust He will satisfy us. “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
  • John 6:56-57 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.  Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.”
  • Jesus is the Passover lamb. We need to feed on the whole of Him—His cross, His yoke, His suffering, His resurrection. 1 Corinthians 5:7 “For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”


Psalm 63:4-5 give us another form of spiritual food: Praising God. “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

  • This comes down to, again, recognizing who God is and focusing on Him.


We want to hear from you!

Have you ever found yourself feeding on a false fuel?

In what ways have you learned to feed on Jesus?



Don’t let false fuels corrode your faith!