I recently talked about having to get out from my keyboard and get involved in writing critiques and writing events. It’s all pretty scary but I managed it – I found some people through YA Lit Chat to look at my first 5 pages and query and someone on Facebook helped me with my first three chapters. I have since revised everything for my final submissions before I put this one away in the drawer and focus on my WIP.
However scary all that was, it was worse when it came to me critiquing other people’s work. As part of the first five pages critique group, I dipped my toe in the water and gave my thoughts in return for people helping me with mine. And then I responded to a critique call and read someone’s full manuscript. A complete stranger who took a chanced on my opinion. Phew. I was terrified I would either be too nice or too nasty or my comments wouldn’t come across as constructive and I felt real fear before I hit send on the email I had drafted with my feedback on.
Thankfully, the writer responded well to ym feedback and it seems to match other’s they had received. I felt so relieved that I hadn’t offended them or worse made them feel despondent. I wanted to motivate. I wanted to show the great points and the areas that could be improved to make it even better. I think that’s what critiquing is all about. And it’s a tough skill to cultivate.
I don’t think I’ll lose my fear of critiquing whether I’m the receiver or the giver for quite a while yet but I know that both sides will ultimately help me write and revise my own work. So I’ll keep going and know that each time I do it, I’m living my mantra of being fearless and hopefully becoming a better writer with each step.
Have you ever been critiqued or helped someone with their work? Any tips to getting through it painlessly?