Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Getting Critiqued!

In an effort to serve my wife while she is drawing inspiration from foreign places like all writers do (ok, those 1940/50s writers of Classics!), I will try one more time to post for her.  Please realize that I don’t claim to be anything but a fan of the written word.  My most deep forays into writing involved multiple pens of red ink, salty drops of water on my cheeks, deep passionate discussions (Really, arguments) about content on 100 plus pages of research.  I don’t take literary critiques well.  And I am not alone in this.  It has made me wonder as I have increased a desire to write well is there a right way to take critiques? 
Obviously knowing your audience in giving critiques is important as is who is giving the critique.  Sometimes two people can say the same exact thing but one of them says it just the right way and it is well received.  Psychology has indicated that there are good ways to deliver these critiques and you can even take classes on it.  But is there a way to improve how you take a critique? Outside of getting lots of critiques what do you all think?

11 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I think getting critiqued takes practice, like everything else. The more you get feedback, the better you are in understanding what works and what doesn't. What you should listen to and what can be ignored. And most importantly of all, you learn how to take feedback gracefully (i.e. don't email the critter back and tell them they have no idea what they're talking about then turn around and justify EVERYTHING). ;)

Lindsay said...

Getting (and giving) critiques takes a lot of practice, like Stina says. You help others but it also benefits your own writing. The main thing I try to do is be respectful of other peoples work. I put as much effort into reading/critting theres as I would into my own.

Chris Phillips said...

There is more technique to giving them. I just mentally prepare myself to not argue or excuse away areas where readers were confused, and make a note of everything said, so I can look at it again after I've had a day to think about it.

MikeS said...

Not a bad post, overall, but you need to give more personal examples. Also, you don't need to qualify your statement by explaining that you are only a fan of the written word. Aren't we all? Use more adjectives and verbs and don't forget to ignore anyone who is critical of your writing.

There. That should about do it.

LTM said...

is this Janet's husband? If so, great post! This is such an important point everyone needs to keep in mind. I've been an editor for years, and when I was young I didn't appreciate how important it was to temper my "suggestions" with compliments. But it makes all the difference~ :o) <3

mmshaunakelley said...

I agree, it's practice, practice, practice. I have been being critqued, and often critized, for years, and I still have to take deep breaths not to get offended and respond. Graciousness is key, but sometimes it is so hard!

I think it is also key not to take one critique as indicative of your ability overall!

Lynn said...

I try to have the mind-set that the person critiquing my work wants me to succeed, wants me to get better, be better. So far this has helped my take the criticism as 'help' rather than advise. Great post!

Vicki Rocho said...

It's so hard to tell. Some people are more sensitive than others and don't want to hear anything negative about their work. Others have a thick skin and as long as your comments improve their writing, you can tell them anything. I haven't done a lot of critiquing, but I think I start out gentle until I know how hard I can hit...

Theresa Milstein said...

I completely agree. It's not always what you say, but how you say it. I knew one person who just harped on the same few problems. She couldn't get past them. I wanted to be like, "Got it. Let's move on."

First critiques are like first dates. Gotta see if you click. In fact, I wrote a post on this topic:

http://theresamilstein.blogspot.com/2010/09/critique-partners-of-your-dreams.html

Lenny Lee* said...

i just got a real neat cp last year and before that i didnt know not one thing bout cps or critiquing. now im learning you gotta be straight up but in a nice way and you for sure need to say when somethings just real good. its like doing a balance. its cool youre doing miss janets blog while she away.
...smiles from lenny

Victoria Dixon said...

Wonderful post! I know I'm able to deal with critiques best if I receive them face-to-face. Then I have a better idea of what the critiquer really meant because only 7% of our meaning is conveyed by our words. The rest is shown by body language, tone, and things you cannot convey in writing. Scary, huh? If I receive a written critique, I sometimes have to put it aside for quite awhile after the initial read-through. This gives me time to chill and see the wisdom of what's been said.