Most writers know that an important part of writing and improving your story and your craft is to give and receive critiques. It is impossible to spot every single issue with our own writing because we are too close to it. So we enlist others to help identify issues and in return we read their work and suggest places that need some improvement. This is great because not only are we able to polish our own work but we are also helping others and learning while doing it. Sounds like a great deal right?
So why do I always feel like a GIANT hypocrite when I critique?
It's so easy for me to spot issues in other people's writing but when I sit down and look at my own work I'm completely blind to to the same problems. It's sort of like the mother with the ugly child. Everyone knows the kid is ugly but the mother is in love. Even though in most cases it's not about looks, as writers, our work is like a child to us and we develop an unconditional love for it. Our work can do no wrong! But that's the problem, we as parents of a story need to accept that our writing can always be better. People aren't perfect and neither are stories. In fact, I don't think you can find a published book out there that doesn't have a mistake.
Which brings me back to my original conundrum, why do I feel like a horrible person when I spot something in my critique partners writing that I manage to do all the time and ignore? I may have a horribly guilty conscience, but this goes way beyond that. I feel guilty because I AM GUILTY!
Luckily, acknowledgement of the issue is the first step to recovery. Every time I have the realization that I may do the very thing I'm noting in someone's manuscript, I rush back to mine and make a note. FIX THIS.... NOW! (yes I yell at myself to fix things, no I'm not crazy, the voices made me do it!) So proof yet again that critiquing is an extremely valuable endeavor in helping us discover our own faults through the works of others. Was there ever any doubt?
So how about all of you out there around the interwebz? Do you have similar experiences when you critique or am I just crazy? On second thought don't answer that last bit.