How to Take Criticism

As you may know, this is a group blog of critique partners.  We get together every other week in the real world and critique 10-15 pages of each others work, which is usually sent a few days before.  This allows each of us with life to find time to pre-read and comment, then the discussion can be about what was intended in the writing and what was perceived.

People, this is an essential element of writing.  Feedback from new readers is the only way to see how readers interpret what you are writing.  And yes, there will be times when the feedback isn’t what you thought it would be and there are times when the readers are not going to get at all what you were trying to convey.

This period is not the time to get defensive, tell others what you like about what is wrong with what you have, etc.  The key to this is to remember that people who have taken the time out to read your story are probably just as busy with their lives as you are with yours, but they dedicated a chunk of time for you. 

If suggestions are made that are completely off base, say thank you.  You don’t necessarily have to incorporate all the advice, but these people are trying to help.  When people are confused with your story, it is appropriate to explain what you were trying to convey and then listen to the feedback that could help that intent come across more clearly.  And most important, remember that these people are trying to help you with your work, and that comments about your writing is not an attack on you. 

Listen, be grateful and then filter through as appropriate.

Do you have a critique group to help with your writing?  How has your writing changed because of feedback you received?

5 thoughts on “How to Take Criticism

  1. I've got two awesome crit groups, but it took a few trial and errors to get them, lol. A lot of times I'll feel a bit overwhelmed with the feedback, but if I let it soak for a bit, I realize even if I don't agree with it, they do have some valid points 🙂

    And my writing went from craptacular to better than that since I've gotten critters. 🙂


  2. Great post! Feedback is vital. Shelly and I swap stuff, and we also are always on the look out for good critical readers. They aren't that easy to find.


  3. Good critiquing manners are very important. I'm always grateful for any comments. I have two excellent critique partners online and a writer's group that I meet once a month in town. They've helped me greatly. I'm a better writer because of all of them.


  4. Great post, Tasha! No wonder you tell me “thank you” so much when I have ideas for your book. 🙂

    And Cassie Mae, I am loving the term “critters.”


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