Thursday, March 1, 2012

Receiving Writing Critiques

Today I'm thinking about critiques mainly because I'm still getting them.

The interesting thing about critiques is that you continue to get them, even when you believe your writing is, well, fairly established. And you can't let the critiques "get to you." In fact, if you use them as stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks, it's amazing how your writing can improve.

If someone tells you that you need to be more clear here, or shorten your sentences there; or even, "you need to follow the guidelines" you need to listen up and take action; yes, even when it hurts.

Photo By: jorgempf, courtesy of Flickr
I don't know what it is about critiques but they have a way of getting underneath our skin and seeping inside our hearts. Suddenly, we're not quite "good enough" our writing "sucks" or we find ourselves getting a bit miffed that the person reading our stuff somehow missed seeing us.

It's kind of like meeting someone for the first time and then seeing them again for the second time on the same night and they can't remember your name. It's sort of like writing your best stuff, at least, what you believe is your best stuff, and having someone else tell you it isn't your best stuff--you can do better.

And I guess that's the point about the best critiques. You learn how you can improve your writing, or not. If  the critique is specific enough in its explanation, you know where and what needs to be looked at. You have the courage to make changes.

Photo By: n0nick, courtesy of Flickr
If you don't agree with the person who critiqued your  work, that's fine, but if you can see past your own heart and skin, you may find that the "criticizer" was right.

Those writers with the greatest perseverance have the courage to LOOK.


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