Something that’s annoyed me for a while now is people who can’t, just can’t take criticism.

As an aspiring author, I love people who tell me that “Hey, you’re doing this wrong,” or “Hey, mayeb you should try something else here?” and similar. because that’s how you improve. You can’t improve without being told what you’re doing wrong. In my oponion, people who whine at criticism that focuses mainly on the negative don’t wish to improve.

A common excuse is that they’re just “doing it for fun”.  Someone else talked about “writing for fun” better than I could, here. In short, just because you’re doing it for fun doesn’t mean you should be bad at it, and is no excuse.

Another that shows up is “english is not my first language.” Newsflash, it’s not mine either and I write perfectly good English, which I’ve mostly learnt through reading things. And yes, I wrote good English way before I started writing it daily. As i see it, when a writer claims English isn’t their first language, it’s just a cheap cop-out. (BTW, “still learning the language, so please bear with me” is completely different. Here the writer is not trying to hide behind something, but is merely stating how it is. I.e, it’s not an excuse, it’s a reason.)

However, the one that aggravates me the most is when people demand your credentials after they get criticism from you. As i see it, the criticism itself should be all the credentials you need. You can’t judge a person’s ability to offer criticism on their art. A person can be a lousy artist himself, but still be good at spotting ways for others to improve. The same goes for writing critics. This of course works the other way too. A person can be an excellent writer, but still be bad at criticising others. In short, take a look at the critique you got. If it’s good and offers valid pointers, you should heed it, even if it does tell you that your work is bad. With the obvious exception of trolls (who can generally be spotted miles away), people will rarely tell you that your work sucks unless they have a really good reason. And when someone does, I would suggest you stomp down real hard on your ego abd take a look to see if there’s anything in what they say.

When someone gives you a critique, they are providing you with a service. They are using their precious time, that they could have used on something else, like writing, or drawing, to tell you how to improve. They are, in fact, doing you a huge favour. To fling lame excuses at the critique or trying to prove that they don’t know what they’re talking about, just because they didn’t praise your work to the stars, is arrogant and disrespectful.



2 Responses to “Critique!?”

  1. I agree completely on how ridiculous it is for other to demand credentials when getting critiqued. It’s because of that, that I actually prefer getting critiques from non-writers. After all, I’m not in the mood to compete with someone else’s ego.

    I write for readers… NOT writers. So that is where the good critiques are.

    • vilegrimoire Says:

      I think that with writers, like with everyone else, it’s a case by case thing. Some writers are also good critics, while others, well, they provide you with bullets for your argument. A writer is usually a reader too.

      The Creative Writing course I’m taking is closely married to English Literature for just that reason. The department has as a tagline that good writing comes from good reading. So we are all supposed to learn how to be good readers, too.

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