An Author Needs a Teachable Spirit

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By Lena Nelson Dooley

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 2011 – Lena Nelson Dooley

Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 675,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and president of the local chapter, DFW Ready Writers. Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Her latest release, “Maggie’s Journey” is available now.

Comments 0

  1. Amen. I once interviewed a college football coach who told me that yes, talent is good, but heart is better. He needed players who would work hard, put everything into their job, and not depend only on their talent. I see a parallel in your use of the words giftedness and teachableness.

    Sometimes it’s hard to take the critique and attack the project again, but as you point out, it is worth it. It is for our benefit and the benefit of the story. And with God’s discernment, we will make the right choices.

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