Thanks for joining me for Part One of the DIY MFA Radio series: An Insider’s Guide to Writing Groups. In this episode we’re going to talk about what to do before, during, and after receiving critique on your writing.
One very important part of your writer’s journey is receiving feedback on your work. A critique group can be an awesome tool to help you strengthen your writing. Two of the top questions I receive on DIY MFA are “How do I find a critique group?” and “What do I do with a critique group once I have one?”
It might seem like a daunting task, to find a group of writers who you can trust to share your work with and get constructive and honest feedback. One of the best ways to find a critique group is to take a class or become part of a writer’s community. This way, you get to “test drive” other people in the class and find other writers that you connect with. In fact, in most MFA programs, critique groups are formed organically because people find that they gravitate toward certain fellow classmates.
3-Step Critique Process for Receiving Critique
- Make sure to submit a “clean” manuscript, as free from typographical errors as possible.
- Submit your work on time and in the correct format
- Don’t preface or excuse your work. Align yourself with your critique partners.
- Remember that you’re all working on the same side.
(This part only applies to groups that meet face-to-face.)
- Don’t talk during the critique. Instead, listen intently.
- Don’t defend your work while being critiqued.
- Don’t try to explain why something is the way it is. The work should speak for itself.
- Be open to what your critique partners are telling you.
- Ask questions at the END.
- Don’t cheat and use the question time to defend or excuse your work.
- Be nice to yourself. Receiving critical feedback is hard.
- Find a way to take in the feedback all at once, if at all possible.
- No matter what anyone says, remember you get the final say about changes you make to your work.
- Be careful about resubmitting a piece. Receive the critique and then YOU take it from there.
Remember: You are your own best critique partner.
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.