Other Cool Blogs: Medium December 23, 2018

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Critiques are like exercise for writers; they help build writing muscles through practice and pain, using a spotter to help with the heavy lifting.

The problem is pain also is a warning from the body and mind something is not right. The question then becomes, how does one tell the difference between a good pain and a bad pain? 

In many ways, the difference is like the results of exercise: is the pain helping you grow and get better?

Merethe Walther wrote an article: Why Learning How to Recognize Bad Critiques Is A Writing Skill You Didn’t Know You Needed.

She provided a list of five things to look for. I’ve interpreted them according to the exercise metaphor above.

  1. They don’t offer any criticism – “I liked it.” is about as helpful as “Looking good, bro.” at a gym.
  2. They rewrite your piece – This is the spotter who mansplains how to lift weights properly, and you are the instructor.
  3. They are harsh or overly critical – Fat shaming someone walking into the gym isn’t helpful. 
  4. They can’t take critique – This would be the person who you spot for, but won’t spot for you. 
  5. They don’t read – This would be a lazy person catcalling while you are out for a run.

If you would like to see her full breakdown and explanation as how it applies to authors, go here: https://medium.com/@merethewalther/why-learning-how-to-recognize-bad-critiques-is-a-skill-you-didnt-know-you-needed-df0935b75329