Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Standing Naked In Front Of The Crowd (Or, the art of being critiqued)

Happy Wednesday All! Time for another Blog Chain round. Alyson started this chain with this topic:
Have you developed thick skin as a writer? How do you handle having your work critiqued? Do you love revising? Hate it?
I just love this topic. It is something I am regularly asked about at book chats and school visits - the critique process, the editing process, and how to deal with criticism. I have long believed that writers are courageous by nature. We weave pieces of our soul in the words we string together, hoping that a reader will understand the story we are trying to tell. Oftentimes, as our work is released from the safe confines of our journals or computers and scrutinized, we stand, naked and vulnerable, waiting to hear what people think. Sometimes the feedback will be positive. Sometimes it will be difficult. And sometimes it may even be hurtful.

But to me, it is always helpful.

When I first started writing, I had no idea what it meant to have my work critiqued. Fortunately I connected with a couple of critique partners within the first few months of writing-for-publication. They were a godsend! And no, they were not particularly gentle with their critiques. In fact, I distinctly remember feeling shredded on more than one occasion. And while that feeling hurt - a lot - I learned more in that first year than I ever could have hoped to learn. I don't have CPs in the same way now, though I still insist that a couple of my treasured CPs read my newer work, especially if I am venturing into some new genre. Or, like now, I am again seeking an agent. My CPs will be by my side again, forcing me to make my work stronger than I ever thought possible.

The second part of the topic deals with the revision process. I have to say, I LOVE revising. Like REALLY LOVE IT! I am not a first draft kind of writing. I find the initial pouring of my thoughts onto the page almost painful. But once the book is out, once I can see the words instead of hearing them (or feeling them), I love molding them into the story my characters are trying to tell.

So, I tend to rush the first draft process, desperate to get the material out of my head and onto the page so I can play with it, revising it into something worth reading. And then revising it again. And again. Until finally, after typically 4 revisions or so, it is ready for editing...

Those are my thoughts on the topic. What are yours?

For more on this topic, check out Sandra's from yesterday, and Katrina's post tomorrow.

And don't forget about my ongoing pre-launch celebration for The Girl Guide. This week's giveaway includes Leigh Talbert Moore's The Truth About Faking It (ebook). Enter today!


  1. I really appreciate good critiques and take every comment into consideration. Even if I don't change my work exactly as suggested, those comments make me see things I had seen during the writing.

    I love revision. It's my best friend.

  2. I also love revising! I also love all that can be learned from a critique. It's where your writing starts to grow.


Thanks for your input!