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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2 comments :

  1. As a person who has a blog and writes book reviews, one of the hardest things for US (at least for me to do) is to be honest when a book/story does not seem to meet our expectations. It is SO hard to write a review if it has is somewhat negative. I know for me it takes days to write it as I don't want to hurt that writer's feelings. That IS how I feel, as if I am hurting their feeling. It's SO hard to do! However, if the book really does fall short, and if the writer really has written something that really needs work, we need to write an honest review and say so. This is HARD! So not only may it hurt your heart, it hurts ours, too! I just felt I wanted to share that with you. Those are some of the HARDEST reviews to write. We really have to distance ourselves from 'feelings' to be able to be honest and 'write' the 'not so hot' review. I hope that helps and makes you, as a writer, feel a little better! When you get 'not so hot' reviews, it is just as hard on us as it may be on you. We do not do it to wrench your heart, but to be honest about the writing.
    Thankfully, it is NOT often this happens for me! Most all of the books I read ARE 'very good'! I am looking forward to reading your writing as of yet I have not. REALLY looking forward to doing so!
    GREAT article here, again! I love these articles you write!
    I have your blog bookmarked and am following you via GFC as lauriehere and am going over to Facebook and Twitter to give a follow to!
    Thanks for taking the time to write these excellent articles on your blog! I really enjoy them! As a matter of fact, I have copied and pasted some of them to put in my file of "Writing Tips"! So one day when I 'do' write something myself, I have these to read and go over as I am writing!
    Thank you!
    Laurie Carlson
    http://www.lauriehere.blogspot.com

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  2. Laurie, Yes critiques are difficult, but they are necessary. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

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