Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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.