Constructive Criticism

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The term constructive criticism brings up all sorts of confusing thoughts for me. Even the name is both positive and negative. Making it so that I don’t know feel about it, and instead just leaving my brain all squishy.

The thing is, I have always wanted to be one of those people who could handle constructive criticism. It is, after all, designed to make you better, right?

Oh, sure I always told everyone to rip my stuff up and I could take it… but I still knew it was going to hurt. I mean, that’s how everyone does it right?

Wrong. That’s just what I thought. The thing is… now I know that if people are willing to give me a crit on my work, it means they see actual promise in what I’m doing.

That’s right–the more people (who know what they’re talking about–this part is VERY important) pick through your stuff, tell you what needs work and what doesn’t… the closer you are to having it right.

Once I realized this, I started liking the criticism…

Who knew?

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  1. I read a great book by Dr. Randy Garner called Constructing Effective Criticism. It was great.

  2. My original reaction to reading in from of a critque group was ‘AHHHHHHHHHHHH!’

    Then, I realized that someone would have to read my work eventually and I would rather send out good stuff than crap. So, I got brave and read the second time I attended the workshop.
    Was humbled a bit, but learned A LOT~
    Do you ever read when you go? I missed last week and hope I didn’t miss you reading! I want to hear some YA out of that group.

    1. @Cinnamon Skewes, I read a lot in group, but I have to be in a place in my writing to read… like if I’m on revision or something, I try not to read, because then I just get confused, but I read super raw stuff a LOT–I’ll probably be reading quite a bit in October. 🙂

  3. When I began getting critiques, I thought people were being nitpicky. Now I love all the notes I take, words I hear, and feedback written all over my hard copies.

  4. I love constructive criticism. Anything that makes my writing stronger is welcome. I do find that I have to take notes when the criticism is being given, remind myself not to justify or argue, then give myself a day to absorb it.

  5. Oh, yes – this Venn diagram is perfect! I have to put my feedback away for a day (or ten, or a hundred) before I can really take it in and internalize it and see my way through to a better manuscript. I hope that puts me in the middle of your diagram…

  6. And here’s another area for the Venn diagram: People who ACTUALLY LISTEN to criticism. I struggle with this one, too. People who can listen and adjust accordingly seem to be few and far between, right?

  7. I love my crit buddies critiques. They always think they are being hard, but they help in so many ways.

    I love your picture of those who handle criticism, because it is so true!

  8. Yeah, my last story you critted was so weighed down with stuff, I had pay extra to receive it in email!

  9. Every time I see “constructive criticism” I think of that episode of the Office where Michael asks for “constructive compliments.”

  10. Very true, Jamie. I like to allow myself a few seconds of freak out before I settle down and realize that taking constructive criticism will make me a better writer.

  11. As someone who aspires to be the kind of person who can actually handle constructive criticism, I very much appreciate this post.