#1 Writing Rule: Be Teachable

We writers area equal parts ego and vulnerable.  The cliché is to develop a “tough skin” over the years and be able to take criticism.  But we all think we’re geniuses, and we are. Brilliant beasts who are magical at hiding our softest parts behind a shield of “I already know” and “You just don’t understand the work.”

Writer with Paper Head“Humble yourself, Oscar,” often goes through my mind.  One thing I’ve learned over the years of writing and revision and rejection and submission and rejection again and writing again and revision again is this:  Be teachable.

“The ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something,” By Muhammad Iqbal – Pakistani Poet

I say that and I also offer writers advice which will sound like a schism (and it is), but we need to retain our ego.  We need to always remember we are undiscovered geniuses.  We are the next brilliant thing to hit the writing world.  We have the ability to transform this planet into something more habitable.  And ultimately that’s why we sit here everyday and write.  To end oppression.  To open up people’s minds.  To give readers a new way to look at life.  Our genius is geared toward benevolence.  Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves, and I suggest we continue to do so.

But at the same time we must be teachable.  We must be able to take advice from other writers.  It’s the difference between wrestling against your ego and mastering it.  When you are in control, you understand talent and skill must be executed with discipline.

And the only way for a writer to obtain discipline is by listening to others.

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(The above image was borrowed from Flickr)

22 thoughts on “#1 Writing Rule: Be Teachable

  1. Great post! I’m notoriously bad at receiving other people’s advice, but mainly if it’s uninvited. Different story if I actually seek the advice… then I’m all ears.
    PS. Thank for stopping by ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Being teachable, taking advice… Couldn’t agree more! It was from people’s criticism and advice that I learned about how to write. And I’m forever learning…! Great post. Thank you for liking a post on my blog too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you. It can be hard. I also think there’s a certain unspoken talent for giving criticism in a way where the recipient will be receptive. I’ve known a few people who had the talent. I always admired them for it.


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