Can critiquing others improve writing?


Yes, critiquing others can indeed improve one's writing abilities. Several aspects highlight how engaging in critiques benefits writers:

  1. Self-Reflection and Accountability: When writers critique others, they often reflect on their own work in the process. For instance, discusses how his poetry, which often contains societal critiques, serves as a memo to himself, holding him accountable and implicating him in the themes he explores. This self-reflection can enhance a writer's critical thinking and personal growth 1.

  2. Improving Editing Skills: shares insight from Orson Scott Card, emphasizing that to improve writing, one must become a better editor. By critiquing others, writers learn to identify and articulate weaknesses in writing, which translates into better self-editing skills. This process fosters a deeper understanding of good writing practices and helps writers internalize these elements for their own work 2.

  3. Professional Growth through Rigorous Evaluation: suggests that being harsh in evaluating others’ work leads to significant professional growth. He believes that if you don't look at your past work and cringe, you're likely not improving. This process of rigorous critique encourages writers to constantly refine their skills and strive for higher standards 3.

    Wrestling with Truth

    Clint Smith explores the power of poetry as a means of personal reflection and accountability, recognizing his own complicity in societal issues. Through his poignant words, he challenges the notion of resilience and offers a sobering perspective on the moral arc of the universe.

    On Being with Krista Tippett

    [Extended] Clint Smith with Krista Tippett

Critiquing serves as an educational tool that promotes growth by exposing writers to diverse styles and thought processes, thereby broadening their own approaches to writing.