Critiques Improve Our Writing Skills

Im a Writer

By Beth Crosby
Rock Hill Chapter


No one writes perfectly, especially on the first try. But proofing our work and sharing it with a critique group or individual we trust can improve our skills. As members of SCWW, we have the opportunity to share our thoughts and writings with people at all levels.

We can go to other SCWW chapters. Of course, you need to call the chapter chairman first to see if they permit reading on the first visit or if you need to come more than once. Our nineteen chapters meet at different times, days and frequencies. If you live in an area such as Columbia, you can visit a few chapters nearby: other Columbia chapters, the Lexington chapter, even more within an hours’ drive. If you’re going to the beach, plan to visit a chapter near the coast!

Some members are hesitant to share their work with others whom they believe are “so advanced”. One thing that “authors” do is write every day, if only for a few minutes. They might record events in a journal, work on a poem or write one page for the books filling their heads. Remember, if you write a page per day, you’ll have a 365 pages in a year. (Jimmy Buffett, the singer, taught me that!) We are fortunate to have a few published authors in our chapter, as well as intelligent and well-read participants. Others want information spoon-fed and do not make what are sometimes logical leaps in the story. Those who read Ann Rand look for more in a book than those who read E. L. James. The readers aren’t wrong. They just enjoy opposite ends of the spectrum. We all write differently. We read at varying rates and bring individual experiences to reading and writing. Some read only one genre and don’t understand others. Writers should read from several authors in whose genre they write. And reading other works, genres and authors in addition to the ones you prefer helps you become a more well-rounded writer.

When you open up to let others read your works and see your heart and soul, you take the chance of feeling a scab ripped from an open sore. Writers sometimes feel as if they have shared their darkest, most private places, and others don’t appreciate it. So when you consider sharing, realize that no one intends to hurt your feelings. Everyone who has read their writing aloud has been where you are. Some groups’ writers are more able to share opportunities for improvement. But none are intentionally hurtful. Some critiquers share what they feel, but their suggestions do not align with what you’ve read or been taught. Consider the source. Ask yourself if the comment is valid. Look it up or consider the input from other readers. Some groups provide the week’s readings to members in advance of the meeting to allow more thorough consideration before for reading it with the group. Having someone else read your work aloud is equally beneficial because not everyone will read with the intention and inflection you heard in your head. This can be invaluable in hearing what you wrote.

Friendships are built every day on common interests and respects for another’s talents. Take full advantage of your SCWW membership. Attend your local meetings as frequently as possible. Visit others when you can, and no matter what, write something every day!

Photo credit: Pixabay

Beth Crosby’s experience as a newspaper copy editor and in administrative, sales and customer service make her uniquely qualified to edit for fact, grammar and readability. She enjoys Young Adult fiction, and proofreads everything she comes across, despite all efforts not to! Beth is a freelance editor in Rock Hill, SC.

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