Archives for September 2013

How to Process Criticism as an Author

Criticism can be toxic. Take in the good. Filter out the bad.

Criticism can be toxic. Take in the good. Filter out the bad.

Shortly after one of my clients self-published her book, she received the following e-mail from a past acquaintance containing the following unsolicited critique and advice (justifying it with her extensive and credible experience in the writing field):

I found the book to be full of errors, not just grammatically, but it is also riddled with many elementary clichés along with irrelevant details that should not be in the book as they distract from the story. You jump around from thought to thought, event to event, without any transition, which leaves the reader confused. I only tell you this because if you are going to re-publish, you should hire a professional editor (not family or friends) or start over with a ghostwriter. There is no shame in not being a writer, but a non-writer should not attempt to self-publish a book without professional help.

She then said not to take her critique personally and that she was trying to be helpful. She finished by saying that she loved the title because “it starts out right away with intrigue and a hook.”

This woman’s comments hit my client pretty hard so she wrote asking my professional opinion. The following was my response back to this author (I was not happy with this “friend”):

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Do Men Really Have a Greater Sex Drive? – by Eric T. Smith

The-Science-of-a-Woman ebookIn 2012 I had the privilege of working with Eric T. Smith on his book The Science of a Woman—The Art of Manhood: Keys to the Glory of Marriage. The following excerpt is from chapter 5, “If It Doesn’t Feel Good, Something Is Wrong.” This is a read-at-your-own-risk book that’s sure to mess with your ideas about what marriage and sex can really be like.


Why is it that many wonderful men have sex with wives who don’t really want to?

A pastor friend and I were discussing a book about understanding women and I pointed out that the author made a damaging error. He said that compared to a man, a woman doesn’t have a sex drive. I then drew a diagram on paper showing a man’s sex drive at one hundred and a woman’s at twenty-five. I said to him, “This is what many Christian books say isn’t it?”

He replied, “Yes, do you disagree?”

Instead of answering directly, I then asked, “And almost everyone you know has an experience that matches the books, right?”

He said, “Yes!”

I continued, “Would you agree that the implication is that God created it that way?”

He said, “Yes.”

I asked, “Would you also say that this is a conflict that couples have to work out?”

Again he agreed.

I answered, “So God created a conflict that we have to resolve. Couples negotiate an agreement because of their love for one another. The woman rises above her desire level, out of obligation, and the man comes below his desire level, out of obligation. We call this Christ-like love, giving at the expense of self for our spouse.”

Many think a man and a woman must negotiate an agreement to get along sexually.

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The Best Way to Make Your Point Stick Is…

Of all the talks you’ve heard or books you’ve read, what percentage have had lasting, tangible impact?

This was the question I asked a group a few weeks ago when I taught a five-day course using principles from Andy Stanley’s wonderful book, Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication.

Keep in mind these were all seminary students who have heard thousands of sermons, talks, lessons, devotionals, and presentations.

No one could remember more than a handful.

Will all you have to say stick with your audience?

Will all you have to say stick with your audience?

I would suggest that in many cases the ability to recall what we’ve heard says more about the speaker than it does about the listeners.

What a depressingly poor return on investment for speakers, some who labor to come up with a new message each week filled with insightful and plentiful advice only to realize that no one remembers it the next day. Or if they do remember it, they don’t know what to do about it, and it certainly has no lasting change effect personally or professionally.

But there’s hope!
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How to Increase Results When You Communicate

Why do you communicate—when you speak…when you write?

Is your purpose just to share only ideas, or do you want to your audience to respond with some kind of action?

Put your words together for results, not just a message.

Put your words together for results, not just a message.

From my days as a teacher and trainer, I found two downsides of communicating information:

  • The audience writes off what you’re saying because they think they’ve heard it before.
  • People hear or read information, and they equate inspiration with implementation. I can count too many times where I have come out of an inspirational experience with great intentions for change but the next day stepping back into an old routine that gets me nowhere new.

Do more than just inspire your listeners. Accelerate learning by providing specific steps of implementation to complement your inspiration.

Inspiration minus practical implementation leads to self-deception—believing we have become something that we are not. A full head does not equal a big heart with serving hands.

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