The Importance of Critique Parnters

I used to be one of those writers who couldn't take criticism. It didn't matter if you heaped praise on my work, that seed of negativity would grow within me I couldn't look at my work anymore. My inability to take criticism is a huge reason why I put my dream to be a writer on hold for so many years.

When I started writing again, I worked for nearly a year before I let my husband read it, and when he didn't make it past page one before reaching for a red pen, my stomach hit the ground. But I watched him as he read. He laughed in the right places, and said that there were some problems, but it was good.

He's still my first reader, the person I vet my new works to. He is the best type of reader, because he doesn't mince words. He's not above writing "you can do better than this" in the margins. He's wonderful, but I always knew I wanted a real critique partner. Someone who was a writer too. I found my first CP, Kelly, very easily. Almost too easily, in hindsight. We fell together very quickly, and have been working together for over two years.

I always knew I wanted two critique partners. Having four sets of eyes (including my own) I figured was a good number. As I went through the process of finding CP#2, I realize how people use the term critique partner to be a catch-all. Some people said they wanted a CP, when in reality, they just wanted someone to beta read. If I read your stuff, and you read mine, that does not make us CPs. I think a lot of people forget the p stands for partner.

That doesn't mean this person is your insta-bestie. But it does mean you have the ear of someone who understands your struggles, because they've been there themselves. I've gotten some tough critiques, and I've had to give some too. But I know that any tough love is given because they want to make my book better. Being a critique partner has made me realize that the book always comes first. What's best for the book is what matters.

CPs come and go. Priorities change, people lose touch. But if you're a good critique partner and are willing to do the work, you'll always find someone to pair up with.

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