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Constructive Criticism Grows Your Talent
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Face facts. You're new to the writing game. Don't get all bent out of shape just because someone has the 'chutzpah' to point out your weaknesses as a budding author. Is your present writing path stunting your possibilities? I can't tell you how often I have told language students to let the extrovert in them frolic. The message counts.
No one wants to look the fool; yet, silly behavior can create the kind of environment that is conducive to information exchange. Swapping information creates dynamism. Debut writers often forget that critics are just expressive readers. How can you embrace them and grow together?
A four-step process bodes well in this situation.
First, take explicit notes of what the critic says.
Then, read the pages in question.
After, re-write the passages without rancour!
Last, but no least, sleep on the new writing and re-read in the morning.
Remember: Growing as a writer means evolving your style and writing strategies. When the new, critic-morphed writing sparkles, admit it and be grateful to the reader who exchanged her priceless energy with you.
In one of the least edifying reactions to my writing so far, a journalist with thirty-some years of experience sprinkled my prose with comments. At first, his piercing remarks dumbfounded me. After reflection, I sat down, looked at the passages he tore apart and painfully re-wrote them. Guess what? A more reader-centered, dynamic writing resulted from the process. I have never looked back since.
Hold your horses! You're not off the hook yet. There's one more stride to take to complete the circle you started by opening up to constructive criticism. You got it. Hone your own book-reviewing skills. Why? So you develop sensitivity to the fine balance that separates disparagement from constructive reactions. You have to become a critic yourself. Start reviewing books on Amazon, Smashwords, Shelfari, Sony or any other e-book platform.
What goes into writing a productive review? Meditative analysis that highlights both positive and negative elements and packages it in a digestible manner makes a great assessment. Going through this process builds your own writing-appraisal skills, while laying the necessary groundwork for the kind of self-critical reflection that ensures the flowering of your own reflective tools.
Thanks to the e-book revolution and indie publishing, it is possible to constantly improve even well-edited e-books. Swallow your pride and let your writing style mature by embracing the intellectual generosity of your critics.
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