Has critique improved your writing?

55.00% • 22 votes • Yep
25.00% • 10 votes • Sumwut
20.00% • 8 votes • Naw
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Has critique improved your writing?

The_Silly_Sibyl
The_Silly_Sibyl
Jack Thomas
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This site really isnít about critique, Iíve come to realise and accept. At best itís about gentle encouragement and sharing ideas, which is fine.

Just by its very nature a site like this canít be about real critique - defined as a deconstruction of style and technique - because itís too homogenised. It encourages anyone to join and makes little to no attempt to provide workshopping tools or serious discussion. It asks you to indicate what kind of feedback you want, or if you want it at all, but this is just lip service.

I donít say that as a criticism, just an observation. I myself donít tend to provide detailed critique because itís just not what this site is for. The sheer volume of users all mingling in the same space without any guidance or structure as to how they should participate prevents it. Itís both the best and the worst thing about DU. Best because it gives you the freedom to participate as and when and how you please, worst because that means that it doesnít have any standards.

You can work really hard at your poetry and share it, and get either no response at all or just ďthatís interesting. Write on!Ē (Incidentally, ďthatís interestingĒ by itself is the quickest way to communicate that you donít understand a poem and donít care to.) Meanwhile, someone whose work is at a level where they clearly havenít bothered to edit even as they were writing it might get fifty replies from people saying ďwow, this is awesome, youíre a true poet!Ē, because the subject of the poem is something they like or are excited by. (I feel like this explains much of our ďEroticĒ section.)

As a result of all this, when I comment myself I follow this process: begin with something you like. Then make a very gentle suggestion, couched in complimentary terms (I like what youíve done here, I just think that this poem could use some more imagery, which I know youíre capable of.) Sometimes Iíll just say the thing I liked and move on, and if the poemís too dreadful (filled with misspellings and cliche, barely readable, questionable sexual/violent content) I wonít bother. If Iím friendly enough with the poet I might be a bit more forthright, as I am with Ahavati, because I know that she understands criticism.

Again tho, I donít mean to insult DU. I belonged to a site that focused strongly on critique. It was called The Pig Pen and it died out because it was too restrictive about what users could say regarding each otherís work, demanding in-depth analysis from people who struggled to provide it.

JohnnyBlaze
JohnnyBlaze
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The_Silly_Sibyl said:This site really isnít about critique, Iíve come to realise and accept. At best itís about gentle encouragement and sharing ideas, which is fine.

Just by its very nature a site like this canít be about real critique - defined as a deconstruction of style and technique - because itís too homogenised. It encourages anyone to join and makes little to no attempt to provide workshopping tools or serious discussion. It asks you to indicate what kind of feedback you want, or if you want it at all, but this is just lip service.

I donít say that as a criticism, just an observation. I myself donít tend to provide detailed critique because itís just not what this site is for. The sheer volume of users all mingling in the same space without any guidance or structure as to how they should participate prevents it. Itís both the best and the worst thing about DU. Best because it gives you the freedom to participate as and when and how you please, worst because that means that it doesnít have any standards.

You can work really hard at your poetry and share it, and get either no response at all or just ďthatís interesting. Write on!Ē (Incidentally, ďthatís interestingĒ by itself is the quickest way to communicate that you donít understand a poem and donít care to.) Meanwhile, someone whose work is at a level where they clearly havenít bothered to edit even as they were writing it might get fifty replies from people saying ďwow, this is awesome, youíre a true poet!Ē, because the subject of the poem is something they like or are excited by. (I feel like this explains much of our ďEroticĒ section.)

As a result of all this, when I comment myself I follow this process: begin with something you like. Then make a very gentle suggestion, couched in complimentary terms (I like what youíve done here, I just think that this poem could use some more imagery, which I know youíre capable of.) Sometimes Iíll just say the thing I liked and move on, and if the poemís too dreadful (filled with misspellings and cliche, barely readable, questionable sexual/violent content) I wonít bother. If Iím friendly enough with the poet I might be a bit more forthright, as I am with Ahavati, because I know that she understands criticism.

Again tho, I donít mean to insult DU. I belonged to a site that focused strongly on critique. It was called The Pig Pen and it died out because it was too restrictive about what users could say regarding each otherís work, demanding in-depth analysis from people who struggled to provide it.


For a few years, Ahavati and I genuinely tried to illustrate through threads and then a public group that through critiquing, members could improve their own writing.

Reluctantly we ended the group because we were systematically prevented from keeping out a certain person who was continually harassing us. And then the entire group with its numerous indepth critiques that anyone could learn from was completely erased to make room for the current group.

And if you backtrack through this thread, you'll find a few of numerous  attempts throughout the forum and poems to paint us as part of a cabal of elitists supposedly driving members away with harsh, inconsiderate attacks of their poetry.

So ... we can honestly say we tried to make critique more mainstream around here. Last year we did our best to offer thorough critiques in our Classic Corner Comps.

Now, due to time constraints, we are back to doing it when we feel like it or should someone in need of assistance ask for it.

The_Silly_Sibyl
The_Silly_Sibyl
Jack Thomas
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JohnnyBlaze said:

For a few years, Ahavati and I genuinely tried to illustrate through threads and then a public group that through critiquing, members could improve their own writing.

Reluctantly we ended the group because we were systematically prevented from keeping out a certain person who was continually harassing us. And then the entire group with its numerous indepth critiques that anyone could learn from was completely erased to make room for the current group.

And if you backtrack through this thread, you'll find a few of numerous  attempts throughout the forum and poems to paint us as part of a cabal of elitists supposedly driving members away with harsh, inconsiderate attacks of their poetry.

So ... we can honestly say we tried to make critique more mainstream around here. Last year we did our best to offer thorough critiques in our Classic Corner Comps and now we are back to doing it when we feel like it or should someone ask for it.


Donít worry, Johnny, you and Aha werenít the first to try and fail at bringing critical thinking to the Underground Hell, Iíve been completely cut off by friends because I didnít praise their work in the right way, let alone critiqued it!

These days, my sporadic attempts at getting people to talk art and literature are either completely ignored or quickly mercy-killed. In fact, you and Aha are among the few to keep them on any kind of life support.

JohnnyBlaze
JohnnyBlaze
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The_Silly_Sibyl said:

Donít worry, Johnny, you and Aha werenít the first to try and fail at bringing critical thinking to the Underground Hell, Iíve been completely cut off by friends because I didnít praise their work in the right way, let alone critiqued it!

These days, my sporadic attempts at getting people to talk art and literature are either completely ignored or quickly mercy-killed. In fact, you and Aha are among the few to keep them on any kind of life support.


I would probably be spending more time discussing television and films if I could ever crawl out of this allergy coma that has been plaguing me for the last few months. Several times a day I just sort of pass out like a narcoleptic or someone hopped up on cough syrup.  

Ahavati
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JohnnyBlaze said:

I would probably be spending more time discussing television and films if I could ever crawl out of this allergy coma that has been plaguing me for the last few months. Several times a day I just sort of pass out like a narcoleptic or someone hopped up on cough syrup.  


I was hoping the air purifiers would help with that. Hopefully it will pass soon.

I think the bottom line here is that the majority agrees that critique has improved their writing ( even if sumwut ). I'm just too busy to offer in depth critique right now. Once I complete these courses maybe. I'm pretty much tuned into who appreciates them and who doesn't.

The_Silly_Sibyl
The_Silly_Sibyl
Jack Thomas
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Even when your comments are brief I know that theyíve come from a real place, so Iím always grateful.

JohnnyBlaze
JohnnyBlaze
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Ahavati said:

I was hoping the air purifiers would help with that. Hopefully it will pass soon.

I think the bottom line here is that the majority agrees that critique has improved their writing ( even if sumwut ). I'm just too busy to offer in depth critique right now. Once I complete these courses maybe. I'm pretty much tuned into who appreciates them and who doesn't.


I'm waiting on a second purifier to arrive any day now. I need one for every room and these buggers are expensive. Someday that will happen!

Right. I know of a handful of people who were and are vocal about wanting extensive critique. I'll still offer up suggestions to anyone else. And anyone who has a conniption over a suggestion when their poems request "honest critique", I never bother with ever again.  

The_Silly_Sibyl
The_Silly_Sibyl
Jack Thomas
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JohnnyBlaze said:

Right. I know of a handful of people who were and are vocal about wanting extensive critique. I'll still offer up suggestions to anyone else. And anyone who has a conniption over a suggestion when their poems request "honest critique", I never bother with ever again.  


Thatís the best way to go about it.

itsmonika
itsmonika
Monika Jacob
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Thanks for writing this post.

MrDunnePoetry
MrDunnePoetry
Mr_Dunne_Poetry
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I wouldn't say it has tbh but being jailed for Poetry and having my material banned at court sure did lol

inechoingsilence
inechoingsilence
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I remember when I first starting writing here, and I was so SO defensive to any criticism. I can actually remember the moment I switched all my pieces from 'friendly comments' (paraphrasing) to 'open to honest critique'. For me (and it doesn't work like this for everyone), I needed to rip off the metaphorical band-aid that 'friendly' offered.  I felt like I was going to be sick but knew I had to do it - and I have yet to regret doing so. Honest critique is honest, and if/when my work needs improvement, I want to know and I want to know from people who truly can tell me what, why and how.  I will also say without reservation that Ahavati and Johnny Blaze will give you exactly that as long as you're deadly serious about your work (because they don't mess about in the least). There are a few others too, but A and JB come to mind first.

JohnnyBlaze
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inechoingsilence said:I remember when I first starting writing here, and I was so SO defensive to any criticism. I can actually remember the moment I switched all my pieces from 'friendly comments' (paraphrasing) to 'open to honest critique'. For me (and it doesn't work like this for everyone), I needed to rip off the metaphorical band-aid that 'friendly' offered.  I felt like I was going to be sick but knew I had to do it - and I have yet to regret doing so. Honest critique is honest, and if/when my work needs improvement, I want to know and I want to know from people who truly can tell me what, why and how.  I will also say without reservation that Ahavati and Johnny Blaze will give you exactly that as long as you're deadly serious about your work (because they don't mess about in the least). There are a few others too, but A and JB come to mind first.

Thank you for that, Inecho.

IF time permits ( and as NaPo approaches, the bigger IF becomes ), I will gladly run a poem through the ringer. All one have to do is ask. But I will do it publicly so anyone reading can benefit from the critique ( and also see for themselves what the difference is between honest critique and criticism ).

Until asked, I'll perhaps volunteer an observation here and make a suggestion there. Nothing intense, regardless of what commenting preference you've chosen.        
         
In the meantime, I write a lot of poems challenging writers to step out of their comfort zones. I feel it's the best of both worlds -  I get to write, Write, WRITE and hopefully someone eager to improve learns a thing or two, which is highly dependent upon the message getting across. Practice what I preach so to speak.

SeanBenson
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Critique is what it is. Indeed, she can direct you to work better. But some words can hurt so much that you donít want to write more.

poet Anonymous

SeanBenson said:Critique is what it is. Indeed, she can direct you to work better. But some words can hurt so much that you donít want to write more.

Hey. I think itís important to understand that you donít have to listen to critique. Not one word of it. Only if you choose too. This will help keep your boundaries strong. 😊

RevolutionAL
RevolutionAL
Alistair Plint
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SeanBenson said:Critique is what it is. Indeed, she can direct you to work better. But some words can hurt so much that you donít want to write more.

I concur with Missy

If it wasn't for critique, I'd never have half the poetry I have.

However critique is the opinion of a reader. It is not some gospel.

Some opinions work, some don't  🤷

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