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Category Archives: Critique And Feedback

Dos And Don’ts Of Taking Feedback On Your Creative Writing | Writer’s Relief

Every writer knows the importance of getting feedback on your work—but it’s also a complicated matter. On the one hand, if a critique partner misunderstands or misconstrues, the resulting critique can be devastating. On the other hand, if a reader adores what you’ve written, it can be easy to lapse into complacency. Even a spot-on critique can completely upend your entire POV as a writer. If you’re routinely getting feedback on your writing (and we hope you are!), Writer’s Relief has the dos and don’ts you need to know:

DO: How To Make The Most Of Creative Writing Critique

Do take notes. Written notes will keep you from forgetting details later on. Plus, time can play games with your memory. If there’s any chance you might inadvertently “reinterpret” a critique later on, your written notes will remind you of the original expression.

Do listen with an open mind. It’s easy to build walls—okay, forty-foot-high ramparts—around ourselves to keep out the truth of a critique. But then you gain nothing from the feedback. Instead, truly listen to what others have to say. Welcome feedback for what it yields: an opportunity to grow.

Do stand up for yourself if you’re being disrespected. No critique should feel like standing before a firing squad. If you feel a critique has turned into a personal attack, don’t hesitate to step away or stop the proceedings. A writer’s process is sometimes a fragile thing, and you’re not wrong to protect your muse from abuse.

Do say thank you. No matter how completely off base your critique partners may be, thank them genuinely—one writer to another—for their honesty and their thoughtfulness. Hopefully, they’ll do the same when it’s your turn to offer a critique.

DON’T: What You Shouldn’t Do When Your Writing Is Critiqued

Don’t make knee-jerk edits. You shouldn’t make any changes to your writing until you’ve given the edits thoughtful consideration. Reflect on the advice you’ve been given before you incorporate any recommendations. And—of course—always save copies of your drafts.

Don’t argue. Resist the urge to tell your critique partners “you’re wrong” or “you’re not reading my work right.” A critique session is an opportunity for you to gather as much information as possible. What you do with that information when you get home and have time to process it privately is your business alone. Pushing back defensively against critique might compel your partners to withhold or censor any future (potentially helpful) feedback.

Don’t take it personally. No reader approaches a work of creative writing without a fair amount of personal baggage of his or her own—which means no two readers will view a work the same way. Whether a critique is grumpy or gushing, accept it with a grain of salt. And remember: You never really know what compels critique partners to make the observations that they do. Here’s our guide to interpreting critique.

And Most Of All, Remember This Key Strategy For Taking Critique Of Your Creative Writing

When you’re feeling doubtful, remember this: Your writing is yours. No one can tell you what to do with it. No one can tell you how to feel about it. No one can know your goals except for you. Stand tall with the knowledge that your writing—the struggles, the triumphs, the process—is your journey alone. Learn more about how to get over a bad critique of your creative writing.


Question: Share a story from a critique session that changed the way you feel about critique.


7 Signs A Literary Agent Will Treat You Right | Writer’s Relief

When you’re trying to find a literary agent to represent your novel, memoir, or other nonfiction book, Writer’s Relief reminds you to be careful: Just because a literary agent raves about you and your book, doesn’t mean he or she will be a good agent for you. So how do you know which agents are… Continue Reading

5 Things Your Writing Submissions Say About You Without Your Knowing

Believe it or not, your creative writing submissions to literary agents and editors of literary journals say a lot about who you are as a writer and how you view your career. Literary agents and lit mag editors are experts at spotting writing submission red flags that reveal your true colors! Here Are Five Secrets Your Submissions… Continue Reading

Trendy Short Story Topics That Editors Are Loving

Great writing plays a starring role in garnering acceptance letters from literary magazines. But there’s another element that will give your submissions a competitive edge: trendiness. The idea of “trendiness” often has a bad reputation because of passing fads, but being trendy is actually about being plugged in, aware of, and engaged with modern culture—not about writing in a… Continue Reading

Authors: Secrets For Writing Goodreads’ Book Reviews

It’s easy to post a book review on Goodreads; anyone can do it! But for creative writers who are hoping to establish a career in the publishing industry, there are important elements of a book review that shouldn’t be overlooked. Don’t write whatever you please in a book review—step back and take a look at… Continue Reading

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