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The Power of Critiquing

A friend once told me they knew someone who went to a critiquing workshop and didn’t write for a year after. Only through recent events did I finally understand why that would happen.

I recently joined an intensive online critique group that lasted four weeks. While it was a valuable experience, I found myself unable to write for a few weeks after. I finally understood the cautionary tale.

Intensive critiquing groups are awesome experiences that help grant tremendous insight into one’s own style and weaknesses. Yet, there is something about having someone in an official group (which automatically adds more weight) do a line-by-line critique. I think, as writers, we all have those voices that tell us we’re no good. Unfortunately, I found the meticulous critique of the class strengthened these doubts, causing my creativity to stumble in uncertainty.

While I learned so much from the experience and would never suggest it was a bad thing, I think it is imperative in the future to keep a solid foundation when participating. Ultimately, these are opinions and suggestions. They do not hold the “key” to awesome writing, but mere speak to one person’s suggestions. I know I have determined one thing: I would never do another without a strong support system to help me discern what is fact, what is opinion, and what should just be thrown out.