Why Critique is Important (and when it’s not)

You Need to Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone


We all do from time to time. When we take on a new job, when we move to a new place, even when we try a new restaurant – we need to be a little adventurous now and again. Pushing ourselves helps us to grow as people. So, too, does sharing your work with others help you to grow as a writer.

Critique isn’t just one-sided; it’s a matter of give and take between members. Whether you work in a pair or a group, you spend some time reading and giving feedback on your partner’s work and you receive feedback in kind of them. This process of reading with a critical eye for storytelling makes you not only a better reader, but a better writer, too.

Listen, But Know That Not All Feedback is Important


It’s true. Just because a critique partner suggested a change in your work, it does not mean that you have to take it! While it’s helpful to listen and consider what you’re hearing (especially if you’re hearing the same thing from multiple people), you don’t have to change anything that you don’t think will improve your work. It is your work, after all, and it’s your final call whether or not you’re going to take the feedback that you received.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Writers


We all have moments where we look around at our friends and family members and see what they’ve accomplished: travel, homeownership, a new job, a growing family. We’re proud of them and happy for our loved ones in these moments – but don’t we all compare ourselves and where we are in life to those around us? Don’t we wish we were maybe doing something better or different ourselves sometimes? I’m guilty of doing this pretty frequently.

So, too, do we sometimes find ourselves looking at published writers or our critique partners and holding our work up against theirs. But this path generally leads nowhere good. It’s certainly possible to admire the work of others and seek to emulate what they do – but this won’t necessarily lead to you improving your own writing. And when you hold your current work up against something published? You’re comparing your raw work-in-progress to their polished best piece of work. That won’t so anything but make you feel less awesome than you really are.

And here’s the thing: you are awesome. You are. Keep working and keep being awesome.


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