Maybe I've miss titled this blog, and maybe the tittle is right on the head, but either way here goes. Writing is a lonely endeavor. The best we can hope for as writers is that when we do poke our heads out from behind our keyboards, screens, or what ever you prefer to write on, there will be someone there waiting for those precious words.
For some of us, that need is ten fold, and culminates in workshops, critique groups, or real life writer meetings. Personally, I take the whole gambit. In recent years I've gotten much more serious about trying to craft my words into readable stories (that I don't feel completely terrible about trying to share).
If I'm going to submit something for review, or take the next step and have an actual professional editor look at my work I want to make sure it's as good as I can make it. I've sent copies of one manuscript to two different editors to see what the feedback would be like. I don't regret it, but in hindsight some of the suggestions made should have been caught by my real life critique groups.
Giving someone constructive criticism like, "I really like this piece." Is nice, but as a writer, I don't want nice. I want honest. I want someone to take out that proverbial red pen, and go to town on the things that are really wrong with my pieces. That rarely happens for me.
Does that mean my writing is just that good? No. It means I'm not getting the feedback I need to to make my writing better. It means that the people I've been letting read my work may not have the ability to catch some of the mistakes I'm making. Is that terrible, or the end of the world? Should I stop going to that particular group? No, because I still get to critique their work, which in turn makes my writing better.
Sometimes, even I forget not to be to much of a cheerleader though. I have to remind myself that most writer's who are honest with themselves (no not all of us are) don't want to make friends. They post their work to make it better just like I do. I try to never be a condescending ass when I give a critique either. I want to be as helpful as I can, and encourage others to post their revisions. But that takes work to.
It's easy to tell someone you like their piece, or what you would want to change if you'd written it. But that does not make a good critique. It's much harder to pin point parts of the piece that stick out and need work. I think I for one would much rather read a critique on one of my pieces that did that.
So that's it in a nutshell, if I ask you to critique for me, please be brutally honest, poke a stick at it, mark it up with as much red ink as you can spare, but expect the same. I'm not great with grammar (clearly if you read through all this and are still here kudos, I know it was rough,) but I'm much better with content. Anyway, enough ranting for now. -Happy Writing, Corbyn
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