April 10, 2018

Writers Need To Like Criticism

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles Freedigitalphotos.net
Writing critique groups exist for one purpose: to improve your writing. That means you have to take criticism of your work, learn how to evaluate the criticism, and improve your writing based on that same criticism.

In other words: You NEED to learn to like criticism.

Yep. If we're going to improve, we need to listen to constructive feedback. Of course, how it's given plays a factor in how we take it, but it's still not easy to sit back and smile, and even say thank you, to hard truths.

I've been listening to TEDTalks podcasts lately, and they've started a new sub-channel: WorkLife with Adam Grant. The first podcast I listened to on this channel was entitled: How to Love Criticism.  It's worth a listen, but make sure you have the time. The podcast runs about thirty minutes.

As you listen to the opening story, think about the first time you attended a writing workshop or critique group and received feedback. You might be able to relate to Adam's story. Some of what you will hear sounds a bit radical, in fact it's called radical criticism in the podcast. But, what they're going to say, many writers can attest to. We need criticism, provided fairly and with compassion, in order to improve our work.

Near the end of the podcast, they'll talk about how to accept and be energized by constructive feedback, so make sure you stick with it. The post is approximately 30 minutes in length, so you might want to download it and listen in your car. That's what I did.

The link is below:


Oh, and, just like in the movies, there's something after the credits. Don't press pause until after Adam provides criticism to his guest on how he performed on the show.

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