My 12-year-old granddaughter is writing her first book! While I’m so proud of her that I could “bust my buttons,” I also know her writing contains a lot of mistakes that need to be corrected in order for her to become an even better writer. But the problem lies in how to tell her about her mistakes and help her correct those writing faux pas without discouraging her so much she just gives up, never to write again.
Over the years I’ve spent critiquing other writers’ work, I’ve learned a trick or two. The first is how to make a palatable critique sandwich.You’ll need two slices of “bread” which are the good things about a writer’s piece and the filling – the part that needs some work. By sandwiching the criticisms between two honest compliments, it’s easier to swallow the truth.
Another trick is to always be sure the criticisms are constructive. I generally try to tell my writers why something doesn’t work for me and offer them suggestions on how to improve it. That way, they don’t feel like I’m just nit-picking at their work. I really am interested in helping them to succeed.
Lastly, for those face to face critiques at writers’ group meetings, I’ve found it helps to smile when offering critiques of another person’s work. The smile seems to break down barriers between people and conveys a genuine interest in the other person so they’re not as defensive of my words.
Being a Christian for over 50 years, there have been many times when Christ had to confront me about my many spiritual faux pas. Looking back, I’ve seen how He uses these same tools to open my spiritual eyes to the things that need to change in my life.
He is a master of the critique sandwich, showing me things that do please Him while He works on those things which aren’t so loveable. He always lets me know why things need to change as He points out sin in my life. Then He shows me how to change them through forgiveness, trust and growth. And even though He can be stern or firm with me, I also sense His smile. I know He loves me and wants the best for me as I grow up in Him!
Thank you Lord for speaking the truth to me in LOVE with a smile and for helping me to extend that same attitude toward others. Amen!