Thursday, July 27, 2017

Writers--Keep Your Eyes Open Wide

Are your eyes wide open when you receive a critique on something you've written? 

One of the women in my online writing group sent me a thank you for the crit I had done on a two part essay she had subbed. At the end of her message she said,  "I never, ever tire of receiving constructive crits to get my eyes open to what I couldn't see before subbing!"

That is definitely one of the reasons we benefit from having our work critiqued, or 'critted' as our group says. It is so much easier for someone else to spot the problem areas in our writing. We seem to be too close to be able to pick out the areas that need revising or dumping or having something added. We gloss right over those small mechanical errors when we attempt to edit our own writing. 

But give me a piece of writing by someone else and I can spot the places that need reworking instantly. 

I have been in a couple of writing groups where those who sub their work for critique keep their eyes closed to what others tell them. They come in eager to hear what the critiquers have to say but they want it all to be positive, to be told that what they wrote is wonderful. And many times, it is. Even so, there are always changes that can, and should, be made. That's the hard part to hear. No one likes to be told that they should do this a different way or that in another viewpoint or anything else that might be taken as negative. 

I lost a writing friend many years ago because I did an honest crit of a short story she'd written. She was a beginner and her work showed it. She had asked me to be a writing buddy outside our full group, wanting a one on one sub and crit. I pondered long and hard as to whether to be honest about the story she'd given me or to feed her ego. I chose the honest approach and she was furious. End of the one on one and end of friendship. I felt bad but I also thought that she'd never be published if she was not willing to open her eyes to her mistakes and to be willing to learn more about the craft of writing. 

When someone critiques your writing, remember that those crits are meant to be:
  • constructive criticism
  • to help you learn more about writing
  • to open your eyes to what you couldn't see in your own work
All the items in the list above are positives. Nothing there is meant to hurt your feelings. If you truly want a fair, honest crit of your work, push the emotion aside and concentrate on the benefit you receive from other eyes on your writing. Keep those eyes open!

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