Since my friend Shaun is delving into the well of deep thinking today, I figured I might want to broach a subject that has been on my mind recently. If you are seeking Friday Fun instead of heavy contemplation, you might want to bop over to Michelle McLean's house instead.
So I've started being slightly more active in an online critique site where you can critique works that someone has posted as well as have your own works critiqued. I won't mention which site, since I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
I picked a particular entry and started reading through it. The problems began almost immediately however, and although I strove to find something positive in the person's writing, I found myself at a loss. I'll be honest. I chose not to post a critique, which may be the coward's way out. I will say however, that I didn't just read through it one time and dismiss the writing as useless right away. I spent a great deal of time reading and re-reading, agonizing over every bit of it, searching for something I could find to celebrate. In the end, I could not bring myself to write a critique where I had nothing good to say.
Now I know I'm not a perfect writer. If my last excerpt is any indication, I have vast deserts in my writing aching for improvement. But I am honest to a fault, and I guess I chose to go with old adage "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
I guess what I'm seeking here is some really sound advice for what to do when I hit that wall again. I do believe in the merits of critiquing, both for the person doing the critique and the recipient of said critique. I truly do want to be better at it.
How do you deal with a difficult critique, where you're struggling to offer positive comments?