Creating and receiving critiques.

As a writer new to the world of actually considering publishing work, rather than simply writing for personal enjoyment, I am also new to the art of critiquing work.  I have recently critted a friend’s work, and I realize that I am lacking in the language of critiquing.  My few poetry classes in college are failing me, and while I know I will get better with practice, at first my crits are going to be pretty bad.  It’s also a little daunting realizing just how many critiques I will be receiving over the next many years as I continue to push forward and aim for the stars, so to speak, with my writing.  No goal is too high.  I may never reach said goals, but I may as well aim high because I do agree with the quote by Brian Littrel: “Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”


My current goal is to get a novel written and edited and mostly ready for publication by this time next year. With grad school all year (the only full break I get is winter break), and field placement starting this fall, I don’t know how realistic that goal is, especially with other commitments that I have, but that is my goal.  Even if it doesn’t happen, presumably I will be closer then than I currently am.  I have done NaNoWriMo for two years in a row thus far (prior to that I was in college full-time and was not in a good headspace, so I didn’t have the chance to write although I knew about it), and have won each time, a day or two ahead of schedule, so I know that I can keep to a schedule.  I’m not saying that by winning NaNo I am the best writer on the face of the planet – I know that what I churn out for NaNo each year needs much revision before it’s even close to resembling a novel, but it does create (or rather, encourage) self discipline as well as good ideas that can possibly later be turned into novels or novellas.  For example, NaNo2012.  I wrote an incomplete novel that I didn’t like by the end, but I am using the original idea to write a novel now.  This, or possibly the idea I have floating around in my brain now, will be the novel that I want to have done around this time in 2014.


But because I am so new to the writing world, I am a little afraid of the comments I will get about my scribbling.  I have been told that I write well, but I do tend to doubt myself.  I also am fairly sensitive about critiques when it comes to my fiction – I’m used to it when it comes to nonfiction, since I’ve had to write so many papers for classes and such, but my fiction… I’ve only shared it with a handful of people before (literally – I can count on the fingers of one hand how many people have read my fiction).  So the thought of sharing it on a Submit Your Work forum on Absolute Write is pretty terrifying.  I mean, people will be kind with critting my work as long as I specify that, but still – having people I don’t know reading my work is scary.  Self doubt is not my friend here, and I know that.


But write I will.  And I will get better at writing, giving crits, and receiving crits about my own work.  I am determined that I am not going to be scared out of this field by criticism of my writing.  I want to learn and grow as a writer and I know that the only way to do that is to actually work at it.


4 thoughts on “Creating and receiving critiques.

  1. May I say, congratulations and good luck! Learning to receive crits is a biggie for a lot of people. I do okay but for a long time (prior to even knowing about AW) I kept things to myself. I’ve been very glad of the critiques in AW in the poetry section, nothing has been hard to take at all. But also I think it’s sometimes a good idea to choose your critics! rather than throw stuff out for whomever wants to to comment on it.

    Just a thought.

    • Hey Kyla!! I do have a crit buddy for the first few times of sharing work (a friend from AW that I know and trust) but eventually I do want to dip my toes into the SYW forums just for the experience of a broader audience… and also to get rid of some of the self doubt that I face. I mean, I know that not everyone is going to like my writing – and that’s perfectly okay. I just want differing opinions on it. However, for starters, I am sticking with the friend (whose work I am also critting).

      Thanks for the reply!! 🙂

  2. Yeah, I think the giving and taking of critique is the make-or-break for a lot of writers. And I definitely think learning the give side of it can be invaluable in learning to accept the take with grave and learning!

    I also like that you have realistic expectations within your goal (that you’d like to have something complete by this time next year, but that you’re aware it might not happen, but that the work done in striving is still important and good and useful in itself!)

    • I agree. Critique can be hard to take sometimes, especially if it’s not a very gentle critique. But it’s all a part of learning how to write effectively. I am scared of it, yes, but I also am eager to better my own critiquing style. Eventually I will push forward with getting critiques on my own work, but for now, I am happy with emailing back and forth with my crit buddy.

      I still haven’t gotten much written on my novel, so we’ll see if I meet my goal… but even if I don’t, I am certain that this year will be a year full of learning. I am quite excited to see where 2013 will take me in terms of writing, to be honest. Hopefully I will grow and improve in many ways. I also agree with you in that even if I don’t accomplish my goal, I will still learn valuable things as I work towards it. Also, if I keep that goal set and then make a certain amount of wordage per week that I want to meet, it may actually happen. I know I can be self disciplined if I try hard enough.

      Thanks for replying!!

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