Archive for August, 2013



Mothers have a lot to answer for! I know. I am one. But one thing we should absolutely teach our children is how to use criticism and how to take compliments.

So, when you read out your work, make sure you choose an ‘informed audience’. Ideally, their comments  should be designed to help. And any group you choose should be working with you to produce the best pieces of writing you are capable of. Not simply damning you with faint praise – or worse!

We have ownership of our work. So  we shouldn’t defend our creative choices or argue with our fellow group member. We should take what is said on board and incorporate – or otherwise. Just as our comments on the work of others are put out there as suggestions, no more. There’s no need for a slanging match – or a sulk!

Equally, if someone is complimentary about your work, just accept the praise with grace. No need to deny or self-denigrate. But, if you habitually lack confidence, write the compliments down. They’ll hearten you in the dark night of the soul when you can’t think what happens next in your plot!

For further encouragement, see my Authorgym blog.




There will always be occasions when the writer’s nightmare stalks the corridors of the writer’s group.

Some real-life no-nos (and I’ve seen them all):

  • Don’t rewrite the plot. There’s a difference between making suggestions and proffering a version of events which you say is ‘better’ than the writer can imagine.
  • Don’t challenge areas of specialist knowledge possessed by the writer.
  • Don’t make exclamations – such as ‘Yuk!’, ‘Bloody Nora!’,  or ‘These are characters I don’t want to spend any time with.’
  • Don’t yawn.
  • Don’t sigh.

Why not indulge in these?

Well, there’s a fine line here. This unhelpful rudeness is designed to bolster the position in the group of one particular member. It is not ‘constructive’.

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