The Importance of Critiquing

While it's valuable to have your own work critiqued by fellow writers (notice I didn't say family members), I think it's even more beneficial to critique the work of other non-published writers that are at or near your own writing level, the ones who make the same mistakes you do.

By critique, I don't mean snarky comments about not quitting their day jobs, but a thorough written statement that starts out with what they're doing right before pointing out what they can improve upon. The word wrong should never be used in a critique. Period.

In his brilliant book This Won't Take A Minute, Honey, Steve Almond talks about his own revelation:
My critiques sometimes ran longer than the stories in question.  A number of my comrades found this behavior presumptuous.  I, on the other hand, assumed I was being wildly generous. We were both wrong.  As it happens, I was explaining to myself how to stop sucking as a writer.

I have found a couple of pretty good online critique sites and I always give at least five for every one I get, because I've found it helps me exponentially to do so.

If you haven't tried giving a critique, don't be shy. Take a deep breath (at the very least your chest will look bigger) and jump on in. Even if you are a non-published writer your opinions are valuable. Most writers know that, and they appreciate any and all feedback they can get on their work. I know I do.


Rogue Mutt said...

It probably helps if you have an audience. From the sound of it, just assume that your audience is a bunch of ignorant airheads. I feel great about the future!

Lisa Potts said...

Aww, come on RM, I don't think the list applies to every kid.

You can't blame them for the things that are omitted from their history books, and I'm happy you can't go into Wal-Mart and buy a gun over the counter any longer.

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