Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Part of the Problem or Solution

Today I have been giving much thought to criticism. As a writer, a mother, or even a human we need to develop thick skins.   There will be plenty of people constantly telling you what your way is wrong.  There seems to be a thin line between being part of the problem and part of the solution.  If you are not one you are the other.

Being part of the Problem:  This is just being mean,even if it is true.  Being critical and being supportive are not the same.  As a mother, I must be careful not to fall into this category when dealing with my children. 

Being part of the solution:  This method builds you up encourages you while you are being corrected.  To provide positive criticism requires patience and wisdom.

My head is swirling with many thoughts on the topic, but the impression I keep feeling is to provide a gentle reminder to be part of the solution.  To encourage one another in all righteous endeavors.  And to those who have been on the receiving in  of poorly given criticism, to please remember that good criticism is skill that not all have developed.


  1. Amen! I've been flirting with critique partners the last six months, and there are some unnecessarily brutal ones out there. The ones I listen to are those who are invested in me, or in my work. Likewise, the more invested I am in the person I'm critiquing, the more supportive I am. I think it's important to find someone on or near your same level, so that neither feels bogged down by the other.

  2. My mom and I were talking about the saying, "Honesty is the best policy" today. She said, "Well...usually." I amended it to, "Diplomatic honesty is the best policy." :-)

    I think that with parenting, so many times it's easy to say no-no-no-no. I remember reading once in a parenting book that children have a difficult time grasping the concept to not do something (DON'T think of a big purple elephant, right?). However, if you suggest a positive behavior to replace the negative, then they can begin to learn appropriate behaviors. Instead of telling my toddler that if she doesn't stop having a fit she won't get her snack, I'll say, "I need a happy girl. Only happy girls get snacks." Me telling her what I want her to be is much easier for her to do than to stop whatever I don't want her doing.

    As writers I think we often need the same things- if someone is just telling us everything we're doing wrong then it will wear on us and make us feel like crud. If, however, they are pointing us in a different direction with positive suggestions, then we can both recognize our weaknesses and see how to correct them at the same time, thus inspiring us to improve and work harder.

    Good topic today, Amber!

  3. I keep telling a critique friend of mine that saying "this Sucks" is not helpful. Not only is it brutal, it is unhelpful. What about it sucks? Why don't you like it, what could make it better? If we can be honest, specific, and constructive (as opposed to destructive) in our critiques, we can be better authors and friends. And mothers. And Mormons. And....



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