Hi everyone :) It's Jess again, and I hope everyone had a great weekend! Today's Mixed Ink is all about Critique Partners.
When I think about the importance of being a critique partner (CP), I also thinking about the importance of having a CP. The relationship isn’t one way—no relationship should be. A CP is someone with whom you share your writing, from the first drafts and pitches straight through to a solid, polished manuscript. They encourage you, and you encourage them. You celebrate their successes and pull them out of the trenches when all seems lost.
To me, a CP is a Writing BFF. It’s basically like any other friendship, except that this person understands things about writing and creating that your best friend in real life may not. For instance, mine pretty much thinks I’m insane when I tell her my characters can’t (or simply won’t) shut up, so I can’t go to sleep. Or that I’m so inspired to write that it feels like my hands are literally on fire.
Talynn here does.
And so as far as why it’s important to be a critique partner… it just is. Not to be vague, but that’s literally what I think when asked that question. It is so so important to get another’s opinion on your writing. You cannot look at your manuscript objectively—you can’t! You’ll want to keep your characters alive and well, when the plot clearly won’t allow for that. Maybe there’s a plot point you want to keep, but that doesn’t work for the novel whatsoever. A CP’s insight is invaluable. They will tell you what to cut and what to keep from the point of view of the reader. And in being a CP for someone else, you’ll learn so much about your own writing because you’re not simply reading their book, you’re having a hand in helping them craft it. I have learned so much more from being a CP than I think I could have in a writing class or from a writing how-to book.
When your CP is in the query trenches, your role is even more important. As their CP, you understand what it’s like, so you can pull them through all the rejections, and help them take in all the feedback they may have gotten.
That is what a critique partner is, and why it is important to be one. Helping other writers is never a bad idea, and is something everyone should be doing. You never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll end up doing together, or how great a friend you’ll find!