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Less Discouragement, More Encouragement






Hello All,
It's time for another Insecure Writer's Group post.  This month I learned a valuable lesson that I would like to share with you.

It all began with a compliment I received by  a new member of my monthly Writer's group.  After reading my chapter, the person in question said it was the only piece that she had nothing to add.  In fact, she liked it so much that she read it a couple of times.  She even went so far as to say my prose and the story reminded her of C.S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters.  Now, I am a realist and without a doubt know my work is nowhere close to that of Lewis.  However, be that as it may, the compliment really inspired me.

After the meeting, on the drive home, it occurred to me that compliments among writers seem to be far and few between.  It is so easy to become discouraged in this business, as it seems that most critiquers (myself included) tend to focus on the negative and not enough on the positive.

 I've always felt that it was important to identify the problem areas that needed strengthening so the writer could perfect their piece.  Although this is true, after receiving the glowing feedback from the member of my writer's group, it dawned on me that there needs to be a balance in the critiquing process.  After all, we are here to build each other up, not knock each other down.  We all work hard to on our stories and it is important to keep this in mind while critiquing.  From now on, I will try to be mindful of this while reviewing the work of other writers.  Essentially, if I can't say anything positive about a submission, then I won't critique it.

I'm sure many of you are wondering what critiquing has to do with an insecure writer's group post, but to me, there is a strong relationship between them.  Essentially, both are intended to support and encourage our fellow writers.  For those of you who, like myself, have a critical eye, I hope that my post will stick in your mind next time you critique a work.  Until next time my friends in the bloggersphere, stay positive and happy writing.    

Comments

  1. i think encouragement is one of the best things we can give each other, whether it's about writing or just life in general.

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    2. Couldn't agree more, Michelle. A little encouragement goes a long, long, way. Thanks for stopping in.

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  2. Writers can be the worst offenders when it comes to unabashedly throwing criticism at another writer. Sometimes it is needed. But most of the time, they're just being onery.

    I didn't post for the IWSG this month...too much going on from A to Z, etc.

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    1. So true, Michael. I can be overly critical at times. Hoping to change that in the future. God luck on the A to Z. Thanks for stopping in.

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  3. I don't know what I would do without my amazing support group of writers. Sometimes I post things and think they are horrible and I get the most amazing comments that totally flood my day with goodness.

    I love being around positive, supportive people. This post was great and just what I needed.

    Thanks!

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    1. Glad my post helped. Support is essential if we want to make it as a writer.

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  4. I think it's good to give a balance of positive and negative feedback. And it's fair to expect that from other people. There is good, excellence even, to be found in everyone's writing. When we give critiques, we should point out what's awesome first and then point out what could be improved. Great post.

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    1. Yes, that's a good rule to follow, Tonja. Praise before criticism is a good way to begin a critique.

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  5. Great post and so true. Thanks for posting about this.

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  6. Great insightful post! On a poetry site we were taught to critique,like a sandwich. First something we liked, middle something we thought was off, then finish with a positive spin. It eased us into the process! Thanks for sharing~

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    1. That's a great idea, Ella. I'll keep that in mind next time I critique. Thanks for stopping in and welcome to A.N. Looking forward to getting to know you.

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  7. You're right. I think we (I) forget as writers that the work we are critiquing means as much to the ones writing it as our work means to us. Thanks for the reminder.

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