Not just for Writers — Criticism versus Critique

When I spoke at the Writers’ Institute at UW-Madison, one of my topics was why critiquing is necessary. My presentation included defining the difference between criticism and critique:

I represented CRITICISM with scissor blades facing the recipient — putting a person on the defensive. We typically react (knee-jerk) to this style of communication, viewing it as an attack. Criticism is problem-oriented, negative, and critical.

I represented CRITIQUE with scissor handles facing the recipient — putting the person at ease. We typically respond (thought-filled) to this style of communication, viewing it as a gift. Critique is solution-oriented, positive, and helpful.

When you provide feedback (at home, work, or in a writing situation), is your message respectful, honest, useful, clear, and specific?


Developing Thick Skin

According to the dictionary, “thick skin” means – not easily offended; the ability to withstand criticism.

Fiction or non-fiction, if you write for publication (newspapers, magazines, books, or even blogs) it’s important to develop thick skin—to not be held hostage by the opinion of others. 

How thick is thick enough? 

The answer differs by person, but the vital element for everyone is that it be thick enough to handle any negative response. 

To develop thick skin, I learned to shift my perspective. Now when I receive a rejection letter—a “no”—I’m absolutely confident it puts me one step closer to my “Yes!”

Is your skin thick enough? 

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
                — Laurie Buchanan and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved