Why Offer Critique?

Phyl Campbell By Phyl Campbell, 25th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/20o9pit-/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

When positive critiques are just platitudes, and actual advice is seen as nit-picking, a good critique can be hard to find. So why bother -- offering it or receiving it?

Let's Be Honest: No One Wants a Bad Review

Everyone wants a good review. People (like authors) say they want any reviews, but this is not always true, even if they felt they meant it when they said it.
Everyone wants to have created something of quality. Not everyone has the ability or patience for this. Twenty years of teaching have taught me that there should be a balance struck between praising the typical A student’s minimal effort “A” result and lamenting the typical C student’s Herculean effort to achieve a “B+.” But when we look around us, so often we don’t give enough credit to the second student, and we ignore the first student, and the result is that everyone suffers, and we look around us to see “average” quality with disappointment. There are a few expressions of greatness, but even that does not impress us for long – someone must have used a computer to get art so fine, s/he put a lot of money into that campaign, and so forth -- we reject outwardly the striving of the individual. We do not demand better for ourselves. We accept what we think we deserve, even when we want to think we deserve better.
It isn’t enough for a student to pass one grade each year, take moderate to difficult classes, graduate at 18, and get a college scholarship. It isn’t enough, because that is the expected path. We hardly notice that student anymore, unless s/he is the first in his/her family to graduate, or has passed all levels at a younger age – we seek stories of the exceptional.

Exceptionally Mundane is Still Mundane

Meanwhile, most of us are not exceptional in the way we are perceived by others and ourselves. That does not mean that we are not exceptional, only that without external validation, we don’t see it in ourselves. We will do anything to get it. Look at this site. We give comments because we want comments. We follow the people who follow us. We talk about quality, but want no one to feel bad. We perpetuate the ruse; we feed it. So why ever offer a critique? To make ourselves feel better? Do we learn anything from mistakes others point out? Or do we see them as jealous, and carry on?

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

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Tags

Critical, Criticise, Criticising, Criticism, Criticizing, Critics, Critique, Critique Of Education, Critiques, Quality, Quality Content, Quality Education, Quality Writing, Writing, Writing An Essay, Writing Skills, Writing Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar Songbird B
26th Jun 2013 (#)

I really enjoyed this Phyl, and it's true, if someone enjoys our work, we love to hear feedback about it, but writers are sensitive souls..What one takes as constructive, another may take as nit-picking..It all comes down to perception, personal and otherwise.. Any internet writing site can only work if writers follow each other's articles, that is the basis of the concept.. We as individuals, rarely see our work as others may interpret it so feedback can play a very positive or negative role. Certainly an interesting and thought provoking insight on the subject my friend..\0/x

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Jun 2013 (#)

Thanks, Songbird B! This has been on my mind from many ends -- wanting to receive constructive feedback, wanting to give it, not wanting to offend. It's a difficult line.

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author avatar Songbird B
26th Jun 2013 (#)

Oh isn't it just! The trouble is, perspective is so individual..When someone thinks they are offering good advice, the receiver could just take it as criticism.. If I'm honest Phyl, if I haven't something good to say, I keep my thoughts to myself..It is a bit of a coward's way out I suppose, but I also know how sensitive writers can be.. I would rather spare feelings than hurt someone unintentionally by a well meaning comment..but I guess that is just me..lol..I'm enjoying your work and find your thoughts refreshing and insightful my friend..\0/x

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
27th Jun 2013 (#)

Thanks!

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author avatar Delicia Powers
28th Jun 2013 (#)

Hi Phyl, I think the same as Songbird on this question...silence- as my Mom would say- never gets you into trouble-LOL...but then my Dad would say- speak your mind and guard your heart...know trying to find a balance between those bits of wisdom is a see-saw ride for sure...LOL...thanks Phly a great page.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
28th Jun 2013 (#)

Thanks, Delicia!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
3rd Jul 2013 (#)

I can live with a compliment for a fortnight, said Mark Twain. We all like good comments, but it is the true writer who will accept honest and constructive criticism.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
3rd Jul 2013 (#)

So true GV Rama Rao! I also know I would rather have someone tell me I had egg on my face BEFORE the party than AFTER!!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th Jul 2013 (#)

Good points raised, Phyl. I usually add my views to complement the post and encourage the writer - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
4th Jul 2013 (#)

Thanks, Siva! And much complementing and complimenting you do!

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author avatar LOVERME
5th Jul 2013 (#)

only waiters love tips all give passionately

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