Grow as a Writer – Critique Your Own Work – Tom Jager | Guest Post

Most of the big writers throughout history succeeded in their jobs because they often critiqued their own work. The logic is simple – if you write something for the first time and you like it instantly and think it is the best piece of writing ever, you are wrong.

Every writer needs to re-read their work several times and put themselves in the position of a reader or a critic and see if there is something that should be added or removed. So, how to critique something of yours objectively? Well, just like every other critic.


Is your work going to pass the test of time?

When you finish your piece of writing, it may seem as you just wrote something worth the Nobel Prize in Literature. However, the thing with writing is that it needs to pass the test of time.

What does that mean?

It means that you need to let it be for a week or two and then re-read it completely. If it still seems as interesting and as captivating as the day you wrote it, there is a good chance that others will like it as well.

However, the test of time may last a little longer. You can even wait a whole month before reading it again. The principle is simple – the longer you wait, the better chance that your writing will not seem as interesting. But if it has all the literary elements in place after each reread, you should definitely share it with the world.


Compare it to a book that is the best in the genre

There is always that one book every writer looks up to when writing their own thing. What most of the writers fail to do is compare their work with that book and see whether it is worth the genre.

So what makes certain books the best?

First of all, writers have a unique approach to writing, and a unique style and voice. Furthermore, they avoid numerous cliché’s that you might not be even aware of. Finally, the writers actively promote their books by touring, signing them and promoting them – now on the Internet as well.

Once you accommodate all of these terms, you will be able to say that your book is ready. Otherwise, you should consider turning back to one of the steps and try to include them all.


Ask for honest feedback from people you (do not) know

You cannot be objective enough to critique your own work and that is the reason why it is important to receive critique from others. Therefore, you should consider three options when it comes to other people’s opinions.

First of all, you should show your work to the people who are close to you, regardless of their vocation. In fact, it is better if they are not writers at all because you can hear the opinion of people who are not in that profession.

Secondly, you should show your work to the people you don’t know – via a website or a blog. This way you will have completely objective reviews. However, you should take into account that everyone on the internet has their own opinion and that you should take into consideration only those reviews you think valid.

The whole point is – everybody needs to hear critiques of other people in order to be able to create their own impression of their work. Even professional writers, such as those from Proessaywriting, need to consult clients, colleagues and friends about certain aspects of their work in order to improve it further.


Are there things you could have said better?

Hemingway was known for short sentences which he would rewrite up to a hundred times before he got them right. You do not have to be as thorough as Hemingway (although, if you want to, you can check out the powerful Hemingway app), but the task of rereading is inevitable.

When you read it all over again, you should do it from two perspectives. First of all, you should focus on each sentence separately and see if there is a way to say something better. Secondly, you should view the writing as a whole and see how each separate sentence fits in.

Of course, this is not a process that should be repeated once, but every once in a while instead. Each piece of writing is never actually finished and it can always be brushed on the edges.


Is the message of your work clear enough?

The last thing to consider when critiquing your own work is whether the message you wanted to say is clearly conveyed to the readers. Is there a mathematical formula behind successful message transmission? No.

The only thing that matters when one needs to send a message to their readers is to read a lot. Reading a lot, especially things connected to our style and genre will help us understand not only how to convey a message but also how to come up with a message or a moral for the story.

Furthermore, sending a message also requires good vocabulary and correct word using. This is one of the tasks that require you to be really aware of your work and be the strictest critique to yourself and your word choice.

To sum up, being a writer nowadays is a combination of art and science. However, we would all be very bad writers if we were all unaware of the mistakes that we make when we write.

This is the reason why every writer should critique their own work and this critique must include things such as rereading after a certain period of time, opinions and reviews of others who the writer knows personally or doesn’t know them, comparing to other books of the same genre and asking key questions about their own piece of writing.

If, on the other hand, we are not objective enough and cannot see our work as it is, we will never be able to expand our knowledge about writing and grow to become better writers in the future.



Tom Jager is professional blogger. He works at A-writer. He has degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+ or Facebook.

Related posts

Leave a Reply