Monday, June 25, 2012

The Writer's Garden: Watering and Weeding

After reading this blogpost on Peggy Shumway's blog, I was inspired to share the comment I left with her with everyone back here, but perhaps in a little more detail.

Peggy spoke of giving and receiving criticism as a writer. My take on the matter is that it is important for writers and artists and generally anyone who does anything to receive a balanced amount of both encouragement and criticism.

Peggy compared the two aspects of reviewing another person's work to finding daisies in a garden (encouragement) and finding rocks (harsh criticism). I believe that one is incapable of growing healthily in any garden without both watering and weeding. If the gardener only weeds, but never waters, the flowering writer withers away in pain, feeling discouraged and incompetent. If the gardener waters the garden too much and forgets to weed it, suddenly the flowering writer finds itself tangled in the parasitic undergrowth of over-confidence and the inability to accept criticism later.

While both encouragement and criticism are needed in order for a writer to grow properly, it is vital for the writer's survival that they are not built up to high or cut down too low. How do you think you go, balancing these two aspects of being a reader? Do you think you favour one aspect over the other to a potentially harmful extent? I personally believe I review too kindly, because I initially look to the entertainment value. But if asked to evaluate the nit-picky rules of grammar and punctuation and not using the same word too many times in the same spot, perhaps I give too much criticism. Hmm...

Do share your thoughts in the comments below!

- Bonnee.


  1. I love feedback and prefer to be given the rocks than the flowers:)

    I'm a great editor and love the challenge that is right.

    1. I hope to be considered a great editor one day :)

      As much as I love the flowers, I know I need the rocks, even though some people like to be mean and throw them at my face instead of just pointing them out. Hahaha :)

  2. Thanks for referencing my blog post, Bonnee. We all need those rocks at times, sigh. My concern is that we forget to mention the flowers when we critique someone else's work. I wouldn't want my mistakes to go uncorrected because another wanted to be nice. But the presentation is everything. I've attended some harsh critique sessions where authors have plucked every last petal from a prospetive writer. I can only imagine the individual hadn't even a stem to stand on by the time she went back home.

    1. I know what you mean! It's necessary to receive the rocks, even though we don't like them. We just need to make sure not to smother the flowers too much.


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