Initially scared, as I had no belief in my critiquing abilities, I hesitantly agreed to the job. But once I started, I realized that critiquing was something I enjoyed doing. As they were short stories, they got done fast. For one I love reading and the second point is it’s easier to get critical with someone else’s work as there is a distance involved and it’s easier to be objective about it.
My critiquing abilities sharpened when I started teaching in college two years back. Reading my students’ home as well as class assignments has helped me analyze someone’s else’s work better. When I correct their mistakes, I return home and look at my own mistakes. It’s easier to spot my mistakes after critiquing someone else’s work. I feel critiquing is the best way to improve one’s own craft.
When we see what is not working in another person’s story makes us more alert to things that will slow down our own stories. It makes us more aware of the mistakes that stand out in our manuscripts, errors that our crit partners will be looking for.
And then ofcourse there is the good Karma involved when we help someone. We not just acquire a grateful friend, we also acquire a life-long supporter who will help us improve our craft through the easiest way involved by reading. Reading someone else’s manuscript is one of the best, fastest and also the most effective way of becoming a better writer. So, it’s a win-win situation for all of us.
What have you all learnt through critiquing someone else’s work? Have you felt that it has improved your own writing abilities? What’s your take on it?