Monday, May 24, 2010
The Benefit of Critique
It should be pretty obvious what the downsides to critique are. I think I've mentioned them enough in my personal blog that I don't feel the need to go over them again here. Besides, we're writers, right? We can all imagine what the negatives are.
So for this post I thought I'd go ahead and do the positive spin thing and share what I think are some of the less obvious benefits of critique.
It helps you figure out that you're not crazy.
(Or, as Taryn put it earlier today, it helps you figure out that you are).
There's a definite validation that comes with critique. Either you're right, or you're wrong. As long as you can recognize, accept, and grow from being wrong, they're both good feelings.
It gives you a reason to keep writing.
Having someone to be accountable to for why you don't have pages done may be the only push you need to keep going. Sometimes it's too easy to put writing off until later because someone else might not be waiting to read it (at least, pre-book deal). With a critique group, someone definitely is waiting to read it.
It lifts you up when you're low-- and brings you down to Earth when you're, you know, out there.
A critique group can have a magical effect on your soul. And I don't mean to sound sappy, but it's true. Feeling down about your writing? Let them tell you it's good. Or, if you are truly convinced you have written the next Romeo and Juliet, let them gently tell you it's not so. Either way, you are improved for the experience.
It reminds you why you write.
Someone else will like your writing other than you. That, in and of itself, makes it all worth it. In that moment, who cares about agents and editors and NYT bestseller lists? Well, okay, I'll admit most of us probably still do. But for someone else to see right to the heart of your story and come back with a smile on their face is the best feeling in the world. We write for people, not just the titles of agents and editors and faceless lists. People read our stories, and so it's people that matter.
Write for people.
Go out there and get critiqued!