How to Give and Receive Critiques Without Pitching a Fit
While writing is known to be a lonely profession that requires little other than imagination and some basic supplies to engage in, there is one thing that all writers need, critiquing.
You may not like it, but it’s true. If you only ever edit your own work it is likely you will find that others do not hold it in as high regard as you do yourself. And that can really suck.
The only remedy is to open yourself up to be vulnerable and risk some criticism. So, I asked a wiser writer to give me some tips on giving and receiving critique and here are a few things she said.
This is N.W. Moors, and she writes some lovely fantasy you can find here.
As the critiquee (a term she coined, I love it!)
- Tell your critics what stage the work is in and what it is, don’t make them guess about genre, back story, etc
- Be thick skinned. You asked for it, now take your medicine and don’t complain!
- Thank your critics, even the jerky ones, they didn’t have to stop and read your piece. But don’t respond, just think on it.
- Walk away for a few hours or a day. Good critiques may give false confidence, bad ones may rob it, get some perspective.
- Take what you want from the critique: this is your work, not theirs and ultimately you are in charge!
For critiquers (another term she coined, one of the best things about being a writer, we can make up whatever we want to! It’s our job!!!)
- Critique the work offered, not the writer! Stay focused on the words on the page.
- Start with strong points, then move on to weaknesses.
- Don’t nitpick, unless they asked you to be their editor, focus mostly on style, and less on craft.
- Don’t waste time if they are just looking for praise but won’t accept criticism.
- Encourage them later. Offer to read it again after changes have been made.
- Practice writing critiques, learning to do it well will make you a better writer!
- Stick your own neck out. Don’t just pick on others, put your money where your mouth is and let them critique your own work!
There was so much more and she said it better than I have here. I invite you over to my blog where I shared the whole piece and I really think you will get something out of it. Thanks! If this helps, leave me a comment! If you’d like to pitch me an idea for a post, please do so!