Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Writing - Critiques and Self Publishing

I have a writing tip box that shows up in the side bar of my blog each day. 
Yesterday's tip was:

"When you receive critical advice or feedback about your writing, learn to evaluate it then follow your instincts."
I like getting my manuscripts critiqued. Some people don't want to get their writing critiqued, because they are afraid of constructive criticism. I think  this is one of the ways we can grow as a writer.

        I am also not afraid to go back to my previous writings and poems and edit them. I bring out writings and poems I have written and have found many mistakes and many places where I could improve my work. If we need to read a passage over a few times to understand what is going on, then it needs to be rewritten. Sometimes, especially in a poem, word selection is very important. One word can make the difference between a good poem and a very good poem. We need to read them out loud and make sure the words flow easily, without stumbling or hesitation.
Sometimes I shy away from giving criticism because I don't think I am experienced enough as a writer to give it. Let's face it, I'm not well known and I'm not widely published. But, sometimes even the most novice writer can see things that an experienced writer can not because we are not as attached to the manuscript as the writer is. Mistakes can be staring the author in the face but sometimes it takes "fresh eyes" to see them.
 I have read many books that have been self published and I am saddened by the mistakes I see in them. I know it is impossible to catch all the mistakes, but when I pay money for a book, I like for it to be professionally done and not have mistakes throughout it. If a person does self publish, they should either have it professionally edited or have as many "fresh eyes" as possible to read it before it is sent to the printer. I know we are all anxious to see our words in print, but we need to slow down and make sure that it is the best it can be before it is published.

Evaluate the advice you receive, then follow your instincts. 

Do you have a writing tip for the day? 

Happy Writing!


  1. Important advice here today. I do think that having work read and edited is such a critical part of the writing process. Writing the first draft is only the first step. Those words have to undergo scrutiny and change to evolve into a well told story.

  2. Very good writing tip. I'll just borrow yours :)

  3. That's very important advice.

    Other people, even if they're not editors or experts, can give valuable constructive criticism because they judge our work as readers. Let's face it, that's who we write for.

  4. Yes, I would have to agree. My first draft is always just that "my first". I have learned to be more balanced about it as I have matured. If I go over my writing with too critical of an eye, I often find that I sometimes correct the very "heart" out of it. But other times as you said, a change of one word can make all the difference. I once had an editor go over a story, and when she sent me back the corrected version, I wanted to cry because it no longer sounded like my "voice". I wrote back, told her my concerns and we worked together until we got it just right. I think that is what offering good criticism is all about, wanting to help someone make the best of what they have to offer. We all have so much to learn, a second opinion, a good editor, or setting it aside for a little bit and going back to our writing with a clear head, can often be just the thing we need. Delisa ;)

  5. Janet,
    This is very important advice. I've also found many mistakes in books. I think it's very important also to have someone to critique your work. I usually ask my mama to read my work. She's good at catching my mistakes.

    That's my biggest problem. I get up and down too much once I start writing. I see something that needs doing, or the phone rings. Then I'm off and it takes forever to get back.
    My advice for the day. Yes, today I'm taking it.

  7. Janet-you are so right. It's so hard to catch all the mistakes-always good to let someone else read it too : )

  8. I agree that letting another person read it is very helpful, but I also like to have the manuscript as perfect as possible before doing that. I find that when alone, it is very helpful to read the piece out loud. When you read over it silently, you know what you meant to say and what you thought you said, but when you verbally say it, you can catch a multitude of trouble. I have often read a piece out loud to someone on the phone (you must have a very understanding friend if you have to make a number of corrections). Also, read it over more than once before submitting and be sure to sleep on it at least one night then read it again, before you are satisfied.

  9. I definitely agree fresh eyes can make such a huge difference! My blog posts are always better when I have someone to look over them first!

  10. Such good advice. I know first hand how important it is to let someone else read it. It makes a world of difference. Thanks for posting this... Susie

  11. I like getting critiques, too. Without them it is hard to see your mistakes and I think we grow from seeing other opinions of our work besides our own or our family.

  12. Janet -- all great tips -- editing is a writer's friend. Not always the best at following this suggestion but I try -- barbara

  13. I'm usually open to suggestions--usually, they're for clarification in the story. I don't like "spelling things out" but the reader does need to know what's going on at some point. Finding balance is the key for me.

    Congrats on reaching your Write1Sub1 goals for last month!

  14. Hi Janet,
    Don't forget me when you become famous as a writer,
    You mentioned your Diana paper dolls, I have one too. I never cut it up just kept it.
    Looks like we might be getting into a warming trend around here, lets hope so , getting a little bored with the color white.
    Nancy Jo

  15. I love your honesty and insights, Janet. I doubt that we can ever be entirely objective about what we write, and that's why it's good to have friends to give us second sight! Great post!


Thank you for stopping by. I love comments! Leave one and brighten my day. If you are signing as Anonymous, please sign your name, so I will know who you are.