Monday, August 31, 2009

Blood Brothers

In the Old Testament (or Covenant), a person or group would enter into a solemn agreement with another person or group. They did not seek those with the same strengths they enjoyed. Rather, they looked for those, who exhibited strength in an area where they were weak. The covenant was sealed with an exchange of clothing and blood. They vowed to stand up for, protect, and support each other.

Did you know as we are joined in covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ, we're also joined together as His body? When we're tempted to lash out at a fellow writer, editor, or agent, do we stop and consider they are part of our family? Do we recognize we're hurting ourselves as much as them?

Maybe we can't mesh with that sister or brother in Christ because our strengths and weaknesses are too similar. Do we ask the Lord to send a critique partner/mentor/writing friend to provide guidance where we need a boost, and who needs our expertise? A relationship based on complementary abilities will be far more harmonious than one with someone, who is your mirror image.

What are some of the areas where you need a helping hand? Have you found a critique partner or someone, who knows the right thing to say at the right time? What are your thoughts on the subject?

27 comments:

Lily said...

You're right. God made us to do different jobs, to be different people, for different purposes. Together, through Him, we can accomplish any task. A body cannot function without all the necessary parts. Everyone can't be the head. Two heads are not better than one, in this situation. You need hands and feet



God always seems to send me just the right people to be in my life, at the time needed. He never ceases to amaze me! I will count on Him to send the right critic, the right agent, the right editor. I pray for wisdom to recognize them when I see them.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

What food for thought this morning!

Had some good critiques and some bad ones. The good ones were the ones where the positive was emphasized first and then the constructive criticism. I cried and threatened to shred my story after...No! Just kidding, though at first my emotions responded to the critique. But taking the suggestions so improved my story and writing skills.

I'm in gratitude for all those who encourage me and offer suggestions to improve my writing.

Jessica said...

I think this is an excellent post Susan. I've always thought of my marriage as a covenant and appreciated that my husband is strong in areas where I'm weak, but I'd never considered the covenant for "business". Very interesting. I should def. pray more for the right connections and crit partners.

I do have wonderful crit partners though. God watches out for me even when I forget to ask. :-)

Jody Hedlund said...

We can't go at this writing journey alone! We definitely need help from our fellow writers, family, and from the Lord!

Stina Rose said...

Susan - you bring up a point that I haven't thought much about. It seems that in our society, we only think about ourselves (even in Christian circles). What we do has a huge impact on "the body." I'm still learning how to let others help me, though I enjoy helping those around me. My husband is the best example of what you are talking about.

On a different note. I am hosting a book giveaway at my new blog: http://christinabanks.blogspot.com Just thought I would pass the word along. :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Lily -

You've made some excellent points. Sometimes we're so excited about an opportunity that we fail to consult the Lord about it. I'm learning to weigh things and see if I have a peace.

If someone's rushing you into a commitment, it's good to slow the process down a bit and get all the facts.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Donna -

Even the "bad" critiques can teach us something. We can take pain they cause and remember not to inflict that on someone else.

I don't think anyone intentionally tries to hurt a writer, but we're human. We're clumsy at times. The other person also has experienced things in life that make them ultra-sensitive in areas.

May our critiques be bathed in prayer.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Cindy said...

Thank you so much for the post, Susan. You're right! Sometimes I get so caught up with how I can help my own writing (thinking it's all in my hands) I don't pray enough about the outside influences that can help me. I did, however, pray about a critique group several months ago and I have a wonderful one now. They challenge me and support me and it's such a blessing!

It's so important to see God's guidance with our writing--who influences our writing and who WE influence with our writing.

Thanks for the reminder!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Thanks! I've long focused on the covenant God makes with His people. It then extends to those around us in the Body of Christ.

Blessings,
Susan :)


Hey Everyone - great discussion going here! You've expanded on my post with thought-provoking comments. I appreciate it.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jody -

Writing may seem like a solitary endeavor, but it's not. I need the Lord's wisdom and guidance, as well as the encouragement of family and friends.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Stina Rose -

Today, the emphasis is on the individual. We forget how our actions, our words, and our example impact others.

My prayer is that my life would bring honor to Him and blessing to others.

Thanks for letting us know about your new blog and giveaway. I hope you have the pop-up comment format. Otherwise, I won't be able to participate.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

I'm glad the Lord connected you with a skilled critique group.

Influence is a good word. When you open your work to someone, whether they're right or wrong, it will have an effect on you.

A friend once advised me, "be selective on who you allow to critique your work."

Blessings,
Susan :)

Kristen Torres-Toro @ Write in the Way said...

I so agree! While writing is very much a solitary process at times, we need others beside us to encourage and support us! Thanks for this reminder!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Nancy said...

It's always nice to give as well as receive. I need technical help. I can offer encouragement and help by being a sounding board for ideas.

Karen Lange said...

Wonderful thoughts, Susan! Makes me realize how ordered our steps really are. Lots of food for thought. Thanks! :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Nancy -

Absolutely! Each of us has strengths and weaknesses. Pairing up with someone who can help us is only half of the equation.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

You're welcome. :) I think we go through life somewhat oblivious to the way God works on our behalf. When I slow down and pay attention to what's happening, I see His hand.

Blessings,
Susan :)

quietspirit said...

Susan:
I have my writing group critique things. But they seem to neglect telling what they like about the pieces. I have to listen or read the notes when the pages are returned to me. Sometimes I come away from there feeling like a whipped pup.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

If your group ever studies topics, maybe you could suggest critiquing methods. Have you tried online groups?

Critiquing is like a sandwich cookie: something positive + something that needs work + something positive = a happy writer.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Heather Sunseri said...

Oh, I really like this post! How encouraging to be reminded to pray to God for our critique partners or anyone who might be offering us guidance on our journey. That we should be encouraging to them at the same time. Thanks, Susan!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Wow, this post really hit home with me. Thanks, Susan!

I try not to be disrepectful to anyone, but even those slight under-your-breath momentary comments count in the family of God and I need to be reminded of that!

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Great post, Susan!
Personally I want an honest critique - speaking the truth in love - so that I can grow. And it is so important to understand that we are all part of one body with Christ as the head.
Susan

Heather Sunseri said...

Yes, Susan, we are always in need of help from Him as well as friends on this journey. Writing can be so lonely at times. I'm so thankful for the writing buddies I have found online that are going through many of the same issues that I go through.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Heather -

Sorry this took so long to moderate. I was away for a few days. :)

I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Eileen -

Ah yes, the tongue. The Word sure has a lot to say about that unruly part of us. It talks about how the tongue can set quite a blaze.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Susan -

Anything that helps us communicate what's in our hearts is a treasure. Finding critique partners, who have the capacity for both love and honesty takes prayer and discernment.

Blessings,
Susan :)