The problem with critiquing is in the measuring. When is it good? When has it passed good and into great? How do you know you’re improving? Enough? If I apply more effort will it help or hurt? With physical exertion, you know almost immediately when you’ve gone too far. Pain. Sharp. Sudden. Stop. That’s your feedback.
The only true measure of whether a piece of writing is any good is the impact it has on its intended audience.
Did it engage them? Did it move them? Did it change them?
All other questions are irrelevant.
Of course, this creates a problem for serious writers like you who want to hone their skills. Because by the time you publish your work and learn your audience’s reaction, it’s too late to make any changes.
And if your writing isn’t connecting with your audience, the most common reaction is no reaction at all:
- No comments on your latest blog post.
- No emails praising (or damning) your bold manifesto.
- No reviews of your latest Kindle novel.
So where does that leave you? How do you get good? How do you know if it’s even possible? – 3 Habits Separate Good Writers Tragic Wannabes
The problem I have with the above excerpt, is the assumption that if you are really good, you’ll get noticed. And tons of accolades. But I have read poems and novels that are pieces of crap and there are plenty of comments. Has anyone out there read 50 Shades of Gray? It’s becoming a movie. The story line is cheesy and it was originally intended as a Twilight fan fiction. The media attention this book received was unreal, but it remains a poorly written book (not good, not great)
Which brings me to my point, I’ve read a lot of great, exceptional, and life changing blogs that I never comment on. Some have no obvious place for comments, see Seth’s blog. And even some that do see receive only a few comments at best. Mostly (not always) the blogs I see with comments are encouraging a new writer to continue writing or comments shooting down what the blogger stated. You can’t write for comments and prizes. You write because it feels good, just as in running. I write because I must write. I must express myself. I need my voice heard. I feel like this lady: You Don’t Have to be Napoleon to Change the World.
It’s possible I took this article in the wrong light. I admit I can be a bit touchy sometimes, but if you don’t meet the criteria in his bullet list does that make you a wannabe? Or maybe it’s just my definition of Wannabe. You tell me, am I being touchy, or is it insulting?
It keeps us on our toes and strengthens our resolve.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think you are being “touchy” – I think your reaction is authentically *right on*.
In my opinion, that article is oddly judgmental as it uses the reaction of readers as the litmus test for “good.” Unfortunately, it makes the reader/writer wrong if their work does not generate a lot of feedback, and encourages writers who are, perhaps, better marketers than writers to “rest on their [dubious] laurels”.
To my mind it does a disservice to both (sez she, perhaps a bit touchy herself?)
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to transform a world!”