Ruth O'Neil headshotBy Ruth O’Neil

I have truly been blessed. There is a group of readers who are willing to read my books before they are published. These are my beta readers. These readers tell me when something isn’t working for them in my story. They pick out typos I may have missed. They even post reviews of my books once published and available for purchase online. But more than just readers and fellow writers, these people have become my friends.

By the age of nine I knew I wanted to be a writer. My mother, who was a great help and encouragement to me, gave me opportunities other want-to-be writers only dream of. Partly because of my mother, I learned at an early age to develop thick skin. She taught me that unless I could accept criticism, my writing would not grow and develop. Of course, I also had to learn which criticisms to accept and which to reject. That was a maturing process.

Proverbs 27:17 tell us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” I need that. I need someone to give me honest and constructive criticism. Often people see problems that I didn’t because, quite frankly, I look at a manuscript so often that my eyes begin to cross and the story runs together. Fresh eyes help me see things I couldn’t see.

As Christian writers we need each other. We need the companionship of fellow writers. Let’s face it, when people know you write, sometimes the reaction you get is a little strange or disappointing. Writers understand writers, and even more so, Christian writers understand Christian writers. We can help shape one another’s writing (as the Scripture states) and we can bounce ideas off each other when we have no one else.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You so much for the writing friends You have blessed me with. I pray that I would be able to help strengthen and improve their writing with fellowship, discussion and prayer as they do mine. Amen.

Ruth O’Neil has been a US freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting or situation. When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.

This article was an entry in MAI’s LittWorld 2015 Devotional Writing Contest.

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