How To Critique Your Own Writing
“Critique my own writing? Who does that? Aren’t we supposed to critique the works of others?”
This is a pretty common response of writers when they are asked about how often they critique their own work.
Today, however, we are going to discuss another type of critique that will protect you from being broken-hearted by cruel critics and help advance your career. Self-critiquing is the answer!
How is self-critiquing going to help my career as a writer?
By critiquing your own writing, you are trying to find that delicate balance between praising your masterpiece and hating yourself for producing rubbish. Most writers feel both of these emotions very often!
Yet knowing what works and what doesn’t in your OWN writing has very real benefits. It can help you improve as a writer and advance your writing career. Let’s go …
1) Self-critiquing should be treated as a learning exercise
Don’t think of it as the same as proofreading or editing. Instead, it needs to be more comprehensive analysis. By taking another look at your work, you might identify issues, redundant, repetitive or off-topic parts, plus many other things that reduce the actual quality of your writing.
Key Takeaway: Think of self critique as an opportunity to improve your writing. If you feel like analysing your text multiple times, do it! MORE: 5 Questions To Help You Edit Your Own Work
2) Identify the positive about your text
Self-critiquing should not be only about finding failures and issues. There will be many things you’ve done well. These things should be recognized and remembered to be followed and built upon in the future.
It is critically important to understand that identifying positive things about your writing is just as critical as identifying shortcomings because it provides you with an understanding of what you’re capable of as a writer. In turn, this understanding might have a profound impact on your future works.
Key Takeaway: Focusing on failures and issues can be detrimental for your motivation and ultimately development as a writer. You’ve done a lot of good work too, recognise it!
3) Never think your writing is rubbish!
Regardless of how many books, screenplays or articles you have written, you might not be fully satisfied with your work. That’s completely okay! Thousands of writers feel the same way for their work as well! Some well-known writers like Franz Kafka and Ian Fleming were known for destroying their novels after completing them! (These authors published their first book late, after their forties … Maybe because they hated all previous ones???)
Key Takeaway: you should never consider your work as bad just because you don’t like it. Someone else out there will.
4) Think of self-critiquing as a way to gain perspective
Many writers, especially novices, have a hard time sharing their work with others because of the fear of rejection, criticism, and even ridicule. So why not use self-critiquing to place yourself in the shoes of readers?
Here’s how it’s done. You put your text away for several days and work on something else. Then, read it and think of yourself as a person who just bought our book. Forget that you wrote it. As the result, you can get a lot of useful insights into the plot, characters, setting, and other elements because you gain an outsider’s perspective. Time for improving the book!
Key Takeaway: Self-critiquing is a great method for viewing your work from the perspective of the readers. But don’t do it right away after you finished! Put the text away for some time, take your mind off it, THEN get back to business!
5) Compare your latest work with previous ones (and works of other writers)
This exercise is great for helping to understand the choices that you and other authors made while writing similar works. As the result, you can identify both effective and useless techniques to improve your writing in the future.
Key Takeaway: By comparing your latest work with previous ones as well as works of other writers, you can discover faults and amend them. MORE: It Is NEVER Too Late To Start Writing Your Masterpiece
I suggest you pick up one of your texts and start critiquing. Clearly, there are a lot of potential benefits involved in this activity, why shouldn’t you enjoy them?