Writing Wisdom with Guest Author!
Today I have Guest Author T.A Hernandez
Speaking about How Critiquing Can Make You a Better Writer!
It's really important to be involved in not only your writing, but in others! It helps not only yourself, but your fellow authors as well. And there should always be a lesson to be learned in each critique!
Thanks for joining me here today! I can't wait to read what you have to say!
How Critiquing Can Make You a Better Writer
When you ask successful writers what the most important things you can do to improve your writing are, there are a couple of answers that come up pretty consistently: Read more, and write more. And that’s excellent advice. But a lot of us are already doing that (or trying to), and surely there are other things that can help your writing as well. Today I want to talk about one of those things, particularly because it’s been such a tremendous help to me as I’ve worked towards becoming a better writer.
That thing is critiquing.
No, I’m not talking about asking other people for critique so that you can get a better idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are, thought that is undeniably important. I’m talking about giving critique. Not only is critiquing a great way to connect with other writers, it is, as I said, a great way to help you improve your own writing. I know that might sound a little strange since the whole point of critiquing is to improve that other writer’s story, but trust me—it can help you, too.
1. Critiquing teaches you not to take criticism personally: I think a lot of new writers struggle with criticism. I sure did! Even as you get more experienced, it can still sting. Critiquing other people’s work helps you understand criticism from the perspective of the person offering it. When you critique someone’s story, you’re not deliberately trying to be mean (or you shouldn’t be). You’re simply offering feedback on what didn’t work for you and how they might be able to fix it. If you receive some scalding criticism on your own writing down the road, hopefully it will help you to remember that the person offering the feedback was, in most cases, just trying to help. Understanding that will help you to see the value in constructive criticism and apply it to your writing in a useful way.
2. Critiquing can help you learn to read like a writer: I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before—that you should learn to read like a writer. What does that even mean? To me, it means that instead of just reading a story for enjoyment or to find out what happens to the characters, you should learn to evaluate that story, figure out which elements work (or don’t), and why (or why not). The idea is that this will then help you figure out how to write your own stories in a way that readers engaged. Critiquing forces you to evaluate stories the same way, which will help you when you go back to work on your own stories. Which brings me to my next point.
3. It’s good practice for revising your own work: This is probably the single most important thing you can get out of critiquing. At some point you’re going to have to work on polishing your own story, but it can be hard to see some of the flaws in the writing when you’ve been working on it for weeks or months or years on end. Critiquing is good practice for that. Looking for flaws, plot holes, inconsistencies, weak characterization, and so on in other writer’s work will teach you to do the same with your own writing. You’ll be able to see what doesn’t work, understand why, and then brainstorm solutions on how to fix the issues.
I started critiquing regularly about five or six years ago, and I can’t even begin to explain how much my writing has improved in that time. A lot of that is due to other things I’ve done as well, such as reading more and writing on a more or less consistent basis, but I know a lot of that improvement has come from critiquing as well. It’s also just really fun, too. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really fantastic writers through critiquing and I’ve been able to learn a lot from them.
It’s awesome to talk to people who share your passion for writing and have some of the same goals for improvement that you do. It can become a great support system.
Go ahead and give it a try!