I’ve been lurking on writing sites, reading passages and studying the critiques to help with my own writing. I’m struck by how differently people respond to critiques. Some graciously thank the responders for their time while others post back and basically tell the responders they are wrong (and, reading between the lines, they wasted their time by reading and providing feedback).
Writing is subjective; not everyone will like every word written. If someone is posting text looking for a pat on the back, my recommendation is DON’T!
I’ve been on both sides of the critique process (poster and responder) and I keep the following in mind:
- When I read an awful post and can’t find anything positive, I pass on providing feedback
- I stay out of online arguments. I see the posts back and forth and, although I may agree with one point of view, I stay out of it
- I like to give specific examples rather than saying ‘your punctuation is terrible’ or ‘you need to tighten it up’. People took the time to do that for me, and it really helped.
- If someone posts back to my critique telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about, I don’t respond because they’re right; I don’t have formal English major training, but I do have an opinion and they asked for it. I ignore the diss, but you can bet I won’t waste time critiquing future posts from them.
- Of course, I would love to see my posted work praised, but I’m not delusional. I know that’s not going to happen. Sometimes the words actually feel like blows to my stomach, but once I can sit up straight again, I step back and sometimes I can see where they’re coming from. They’ve pointed out a weakness that I can fix, so it’s not a weakness anymore. (Thanks!)
- Occasionally, a response is so off the wall that I don’t know what to do with it. Rather than respond by asking if the person is smoking crack, I politely ignore the comment.
If others followed the Golden Rule, the writing world might be a kinder, gentler place. Then again, if everyone acted that way all the time, the whole world would be a nicer place too!
I’m going to get off my soap box now and go lounge in my recliner; it’s much more comfortable.