Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Criticism is Good

When I was first testing the waters for writing, I couldn't even watch someone read my writing. If they made a grimace, it sent shivers through my spine. It could have been a burp working its way up their throat; it didn't matter to me. I needed a smiling face when someone read my heart and soul put down on paper. At that time in my development as a writer, I couldn't take the pressure; I needed approval for my writing.

Years later, I have learned to cherish other people's opinion. I want them to be honest. I need to know where my weaknesses are. I need to know how they see the story to be a better writer.

Of course, there are the people who will not give you an honest assessment or can only tell you what they hate about it. These are not the people who help you grow as a writer.

When you find one or two friends who are willing take the time to read and give you honest assessments about your story, they are worth their weight in gold. Hang on to these true friends.

C. Fern Cook
author of
Wild Evolution


  1. Very true. I think it takes time to establish the kind of relationship where you can trust that the person is giving you their honest opinion. I've had people who've gushed on and on about my writing, and that made me uncomfortable because I didn't believe I was that good. Then I've had someone who tore my writing down to shreds, and I didn't believe that person either because when you're looking at anyone's work, there's always something good too. I think it's important to know the spirit that the person is giving their criticism in. If it's in the spirit to help, then they will blend good and bad and be nice about it, and those people are rare but golden (like you said). :-)

  2. That is the exactly the way I feel about it. You can't be thin skinned, but if the criticism is not constructive it doesn't help anyone.
    There are very few people I let look at my work in progress for that same reason.
    I won't sign up for these critque groups that pair you up with a stranger. I have heard such horror stories of people tearing apart for no real reason.

  3. There are some good critique groups around. I found The Novel Workshop on writing.com to be the best. They really helped me reach my full potential in the nicest way possible. I would recommend these workshops to any new writer.

    Good luck! Keep writing!


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