How Do I Know Who to Listen To?

Have you ever shared the same piece of your writing with more than one critique group?  If so, what happened?

I shared the first chapter of my last manuscript with three different critique groups, and this was after sharing with a one-on-one consult with a writer/marketing person.  I changed the first chapter three times.

I also became frustrated because I didn’t know if making all those changes was really necessary.  Who were the right people or voices to listen to?  That’s what I asked the head of the local writers’ group that I am a part of, and this is what she told me.  “If the advice sounds like an opinion, ignore it.  This happens when the person reading the piece isn’t a fan of your particular genre or writing style.

If the advice is specific and the advice or changes make sense, and more than one person is offering that same advice, take it into consideration.  Those are probably the people who are really interested in what you are writing and want to help you improve it.”

This has been helpful, valuable advice, and has taken the frustration out of critique groups for me.

Maybe you haven’t shared the same piece of writing with multiple critique groups, but I like to get a lot of input and feedback on my writing because I want a lot of readers to want to read it when it is completed.

What do you think?  How much input and feedback do you seek for your writing?

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2 thoughts on “How Do I Know Who to Listen To?

  1. Great post Kelly. My benchmark is: are the critiquers at least as far along in the game in their writing education and experience than I am. If not, I don’t listen. I don’t get too much of that though. And trust is a factor. If you open your writing up to people you don’t well, you don’t know their experience, background in writing, etc., then you take their “criticism” for what it’s worth. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Donna. Someone else asked me once if the person critiquing me was published, and when I responded “not to my knowledge”, the person asked, “Then how do you know they’re right?” Wisdom and experience is important, but I also think, “Well, I might not be published yet, but I’ve been studying the writing craft for three years now and continue to study as I write, but how would someone whose work I critique know that? They could think that I don’t know much.” So, as you said, trust is a factor, and knowing the person and their writing background and experience are very important.

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