Christian authors, it’s true God’s given you a powerful message to spread. But be teachable and humble — you owe it to Him to make your work the best it can be.

“But I looked at that cover at least a dozen times and NEVER saw the error!” The author cried as he held the finished book in his hand.

I will never forget working with an author who had designed his own cover and provided the front already designed. The title was “Worldly Amusements” and it wasn’t until the book was in print that the missing “l” was noticed.

I’ve heard it said, the eyes see what the brain believes it wrote, and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve found that to be true. I know what I meant to say, what I thought I was saying as my fingers sped across the keyboard. I even re-read the pages and saw what I was sure I had written!

Thank the Lord I’d listened well to my editor and writer friends who warned me against proofing my own work. When the document came back from the proofreader I was shocked at how many things I’d missed…or more accurately, seen incorrectly! Humbling, very humbling.

Which leads me to another pet peeve I’ve developed over the years. Why is it that Christians believe they can just write without any training? That God can give us a “download” of wisdom and we should not allow anyone to make changes to it?

The discussion around the lunch table at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference was lively. One of the faculty posed the question, “I wonder how you’d feel if you went to a brain surgeon and he told you he hadn’t gone to school because God gave him the gift and that was good enough…that the Lord would guide his hands in surgery because He’s such a good God. Really? Would you go for that?”

I know it’s extreme…but it makes the point.

Just because the Lord has given us a message does not mean we don’t need help to make it the best it can be. Committing ourselves to excellence, doing all things in His Name, with the aim of glorifying Him, means no cutting corners. It also means being teachable.

After working with a coach to rewrite my first book I would never discount the importance of a good coach/editor to improve every aspect of a written work. The craft of writing is something you don’t just receive as a gift from God…it is something you work at. And if you don’t feel called to be a writer, then a good editor to help you bring the work up to the most effective level possible is one of the best investments you can make.

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. If your writing is passive, telling instead of showing, scattered, too wordy, and lacking dialogue and description, readers will lose interest and move on.

So I ask you this…is the message God’s given you worth the extra effort to make sure it’s compelling?

I can’t answer for you, but I can’t imagine any other answer but YES!

Resources to inspire, equip and encourage. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

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