Are You Really Your Own Worst Critic?

critic

What Do You Think of Your Writing?

If you’re a writer then you know that feeling, the one you have after you read and reread what you’ve created.

You struggle for some sort of self-validation.

You know it’s ridiculous to try, there’s no way you can see your own work through someone else’s eyes.

Will people like it?

A Peek Into Your Mind

Sitting at your keyboard your eyes trace over the familiar words that you’ve so painstakingly crafted. Either you think it’s brilliant or you’re unsure. If it sucks, you certainly wouldn’t leave it in that state. You read along, you think you’ve got it, it all sounds right in your head.

BING! BING! BING!

Check yourself, stop what you’re doing. It’s someone else’s turn to have a look. You know the truth here. You can’t be objective. You’re reading the story as it plays out in your mind and not by the words that you’ve written. Truth.

Why Your Friends and Family Can’t Be Trusted

You do the first thing you can and share what you’ve got with that one trusted friend or any family that you can muster.

  • The first thing to note, your family has been roped into this.
  • The second thing, their reading because they feel like they have to.
  • Thirdly, they love you and aren’t going to be objective either. If they are, your situation is extremely rare.
  • Your friend is your best friend for a reason, they’ll be more honest but most likely want to steer clear of crushing you. They know you love writing, it’s your passion. They’re not going to jeopardize that by telling you the absolute truth if it’s crap.

At least you know what your next move is. You’ve read up on the business of writing and you know that good writer’s get themselves a good group of beta-readers. So you go through the motions, sending them chapter by chapter. You’re getting their feedback and you’re thrilled that they like it. Sure it’s not perfect, there are some areas that need perfecting, but of course there are, you expected that right? Yes, you did. Now you’re golden! Nope, think again.

What Aren’t Your Beta Readers Saying to You

What are your beta reader’s not telling you? Not every person who writes or reads is trained in the art of constructive criticism. And even if they are, do you think they want to hurt your feelings. It’s widely known that so many writers absolutely cannot take any form of rejection. It’s true, most writer’s cringe, denying their bad reviews, explaining them away. But not before taking it personally.

Is there some chance that you’re not getting the feedback you need? Great, just what you didn’t want to hear, right?

Before you dive into the world of beta-reading and build up your team, think of what your needing from them. We all ask for their honest opinion but are we prepared for the feedback.

  • Are they trained in constructive criticism?
  • Do they write in your genre?
  • Are they someone who’s writing you respect?
  • Do you trust them to tell you the truth?

Will you get upset if they tell you something you don’t want to hear? They think you will. It might be that they aren’t skilled at constructive criticism. They might shy away from stating what’s obvious to them that you somehow missed.

Why the hell are we so delicate you might ask? Because we’ve toiled away, bleeding our hearts out and it all sounded great in our minds while we were at it. We’ve spent hours and hours in the editing chair. We did our very best, followed all the rules we read in Stephen King’s book on writing. We put up the hefty fee to have our work edited by a professional even, and we made the necessary changes. See… we corrected the spots where we screwed up. But is there still something more that’s being overlooked here?

What You Can Do

While it’s true that there will always be a percentage of people that your writing just doesn’t resonate with. And there will always be the haters or the people that think they are better than you. There will always be a someone that rejects your style of writing. But, is there a message you’re missing, or something that’s been left unsaid entirely.

Take the time to make a list of what you expect from your beta-readers. Make sure the people that are reading for you are qualified to give you the feedback you’re looking for. If you just want to see if they like it, you can ask just about anyone to read for you. But if you want to grow as a writer and improve your craft, you’ll look for just the right fit. You’ll beg them to shred your work, demand that they hold nothing back. And the best part, you’ll love every ounce of criticism. It’s golden.

 

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