Critiquing ~ Weighing the Benefits

Welcome to my first personal blog post.
Thank you for stopping by. My topic today is Critiquing. What a difference the process has made to me and in the quality of my writing.
Like a lot of writers, I tend to be a little introverted, well actually, I’m a cave dweller at heart. But that’s a subject for another day. It took awhile before I was brave enough to share my work with others.  No matter how easy some make it out to be, it is scary that first time to open yourself up to criticism.
In the beginning, your confidence is already in tatters, if you’re like most of us with an abundance of rejection letters in our writing files. The last thing you need is to be told all the things that are wrong with your prose.
Having an open mind, viewing the remarks on a professional level rather than taking them personally, and partnering with the right group of people can make the experience of critiquing very rewarding.
There are different approaches, and some just do not work for all people. Personally, I like critique groups, as opposed to individual partners.
Usually, there are a few in the group who enjoy sharing their work with each other, and often participate on the side. I enjoy that, too.
The advantage of being part of a group, in my opinion, is that you don’t have to feel guilty if you’re too busy to participate. There are others who can fill the void when you have to bow out.
In a well-organized critique group there are usually a variety of skill levels, with experience in different aspects of the process.  Everyone brings something to the table that can benefit their fellow critique partners.
Admittedly, not all critique sessions are as beneficial as others for a variety of reasons. It could be that the person giving your critique is less experienced. Or, she might not be keen on your genre. Or, they may just have a different approach to storytelling. Whatever the reason for a less than ideal critique session, it helps to have the attitude of taking the bad with the good.
In my opinion, the benefits outweigh an occasional negative experience. And sometimes your story just sucks. It’s good to find that out early on, before wasting more time trying to bring to life a dead horse.  Yes, I have many dead stories, along with those dreaded rejection letters, filling up my writing files, too.
Even if someone less experienced performs your critique, we are all readers. It doesn’t hurt to get an opinion from someone who reads the kind of stories you write. After all, that’s why we do this, I think. We want our readers coming back for more.
Please share your opinions on critiquing. Do you find it helpful? What kind of setting works for you? Do you have any advice to offer your fellow writers?
Thank you again for stopping by.
Best Wishes and happy critiquing! Joyce
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