Thursday, June 18, 2009

Family Matters

Here's a photo of Dad, Me, Kevin and Mom. Not too good of Dad, but I'm sure he's better now!

In a recent post, fellow blogger Krista Phillips mentioned her husband’s reaction to her writing. Which brings me to a subject near, dear and sore: our families’ feedback.

In my opinion, we can put too much stock in what our spouses, parents and other relatives say or don’t say about our writing. For seven of the eight years I've written my devotional column I yearned for Kevin to say, “Wow, this is the best writing I’ve ever read, Jeanette! It should have been published decades ago!” Instead I got, “This is good,” or worse yet, no response. I was mad, hurt, crushed, rejected and stupid.

Why do I say stupid? Because for crying out loud, my husband does not even like devotional writing! He likes deep intellectual stuff that curls your toenails and takes you a year to figure out. I was silly to even think he’d be a proper judge of my work. When I woke up to that fact and started showing my writing to people who know and understand my chosen genre, I received a more accurate critique. Not always positive, but that’s okay. Just better able to judge it for it’s own merits, with no wedding ring to muddy the waters.

So, how is it in your family? Do you allow your spouse, parents, even kids to critique your work? If so, do you go stupid like I did, or “consider the source” and look at their opinions objectively? I’d love it if you learned from my mistake!
P.S. There's still time to enter the drawing! See Sunday's post for Super Duper prizes!


  1. I let my husband read my first draft, at least what I had finished of it. He said he liked it, know, it was not the gushing I was hoping for, you know? Now, my dad has been pestering me to read it, but I refuse to let him until I have it perfected, because he is a professional editor. Sigh, I know, I know...what a great gift that is to have a family member be able to edit your work for FREE! Now you might say since he is a freelance editor/writer he might not be all that great, but he has edited for Beth Moore, and Gary Smalley, and has co-written with Josh McDowell!!! Talk about pressure! Of course, I want him to be objective and tell me the truth, but then, he's my dad, and I want him to be proud of me...surprised that I can write! Sigh....I cringe just thinking about handing it over to him.

  2. I usually have to ask my husband to read what I've written. It hurts a little, but then again, he prefers the deep stuff like your husband; things that make him research.

    As for my earthly family, I actually wonder if they even really know that I write! Well, with the exception of my mom, but she has only offered feedback once. Again, it hurts. Especially when one family member in particular just nit-pick and then bring up what someone else has done as if she doesn't want to hear what I have to say at all.

    However, this post does help as well as your blog over all. I was drawn to your title and I remember reading what you wrote about who you are really writing for and that's when I decided that I had to "follow" you!

    Thank you, Jeanette


  3. Sherrinda: Wow, you have a unique situation, girl! I think I'd be tempted to never, ever show my work to Dad--- to much emotional background associated with any feedback he might give me. That's just me; I take comments from family to heart probably more than I should.
    I think you are wise to stick with outsiders, especially for your first book. Just my little opnion...
    Love you, Jen

    Larie: Thank you for your encouraging words! You are a great cheerleader!
    I think the kind of people you refer to in your second paragraph are what author Joyce Landorf calls "irregular people." It's best to put their commments in a teeny, tiny box in our minds. That is, don't let their words count for much! Of course i'd never SAY that to one of them... that would be disaster.

    Blessings on you as you write for the ONE who really cares and really counts,

  4. What a beautiful picture of you Jeanette! You're always so full of smiles! And yes, I agree about family! My husband is not a fiction reader and so wouldn't know if what I'm writing is decent or total smuck. So, he's the last person I would go to for any type of feedback!! :) I've given my books to my mom to read, but she is such an encourager that she really couldn't offer me critical feedback. We need our cheerleaders and that's what my hubby and mom are. But I also need the coach and fellow players in the game who know what it's like to be playing!

  5. Jody: Wow, thanks for the compliments; you are a doll!
    I like your analogy of a coach and fellow players. We wouldn't ask a skiing coach to help us learn baseball, even if he was encouraging.

    Blessings on your weekend, and your "game!"

  6. My family is the "Mom, that's nice" kind'a support. But I have many friends and am meeting new ones all the time for support and help and loads of fun.

  7. Karen: I think most families are that way, unless they also write. My daughter is a writer, but she does fiction.
    Isn't God sweet to provide support and help with a second kind of "family" who understand our journey?
    Blessings on you, Jen

  8. My mom and my hubby do not read fiction, so they're a terrible judge of writing. But my in-laws read a lot and they've offered to do readings for me, which I think would work out great. :)

  9. Jennifer: What a great idea to have your in-laws help you. They feel needed, and you get some-- hopefully-- objective critiques. Thanks for sharing!
    Have a great weekend,

  10. My husband has read very little of what I've written (historical inspy romance). When he does, I get a "that's nice, hon". I know he is being polite and it probably really bored him :). My eldest hasn't read any and my middle child was angry when I totally revamped the beginning of my second novel. I let them read, but I don't ask anymore. When looking for improvement or a no fluff opinion, I ask other writers and readers of the genre.

  11. Amy: That's wise of you. I personally think family are too close to give objective opinions.
    Blessings, Jen


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