No matter how thick your skin is, it’s always tough to hear something negative about your work. You’ve worked so hard on your writing for so long, made so many edits, and now your critique partner is saying there’s even more to change?
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to handle critiques in a more positive way. Here are four tips.
1. Don’t take critiques personally
You have to remember that your critique partner, or CP, is doing this to help you, not hurt you. She’s trying to improve your writing, not tear it down. This isn’t a critiscm about YOU, it’s a suggestion for your story. So don’t beat yourself up about it.
2. Sleep on it
You should never ever make changes to your work right away. You might feel differently about the edits after looking back at it with fresh eyes. Read through whatever your CP had to tell you, then step away for a few hours, or take a look at it the next day. Then go back, read through it again, and revise as necessary.
3. Don’t take all the suggestions, but don’t reject them all
Everything your CP is suggesting you change is just that. A suggestion. You don’t have to listen to everything she says. If you’re adamant about your villain’s name or the plot twist in chapter seven, keep it. It’s your story, after all.
But don’t reject everything. Think it all through carefully. Try to approach your story as an impartial reader and decide what will improve your writing and what will harm it. Then go from there.
4. Thank your critique partner
Remember to show your gratitude. It takes your critique partner just as long, if not longer, to read through someone else’s work and give advice on it. Thank them for their time and help, and offer to look at something of theirs, too. Chances are they’ll be more than willing to help you out again sometime.
Have you ever been frustrated or hurt by a negative critique on your writing? Let us know in the comments.
Share a short section of your current project in the comments (3-5 paragraphs) and practice using the techniques above when handling any edits you might receive. Be sure to help out your fellow writers by critiquing their writing as well. Have fun!