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Disclaimer: The following article is meant to convey a personal point of view and to derive some healthy opinions for/against it. Please note that none of it is supposed to be a personal bashing against anyone.

It is easy to be a good speaker, but it is difficult to be a good listener.

It is easy to be a good chef, but it is difficult to be a good food critic.

It is easy to be a good writer, but it is difficult to be a good reader. I critique, perhaps, because I cannot write.

A writer’s job is, simply, to write. The term ‘writing’ is very broad, covering a plethora of tones and styles. Every writer uses a different style that may or may not be unique to him/her, but it is the writer’s personal style. It is a writer’s particular personal style which helps the writer produce what they believe is their best work, which is then put to test by the audience reading it.

What follows could be a writer’s worst nightmare.

A good writer will always be open to the idea of constructive criticism. Any tips or pointers to help improve one’s writing will always be welcome. What becomes nightmarish is the kind of negative criticism that comes about. If a piece of writing is not up to par, it deserves to be trashed quite unceremoniously. What differentiates a good critique from an average Joe is how he trashes said piece of writing. Many critiques center around how the piece was not mature enough and reflects poorly on the writer’s maturity level. Some ‘critics’ (notice the air quotes) go as far as to make judgements about the writer’s character based on a piece written that may not have been well received by the readers.

The problem with this? Many readers fail to realize that a piece of writing may, in no way, be a product of a writer’s mindset or his level of maturity. It may be a text disjointed from a person’s character, disclosing nothing about the author’s personal life. The writer places his/her work in front of an audience to judge, but the audience sometimes fails to judge the text and instead goes on to judge the writer. A good critic can detach the text from the writer and judge it on its own terms. A bad critic will do the exact opposite.

It is difficult to be a good reader, because they cannot place themselves in the writer’s shoes. It is very easy to label someone’s work as ‘immature’ but very difficult to judge the text on its own terms. Constructive criticism, of course, is always welcome, and there is also some room for some vile remarks. Once these remarks start to get personal, however, there steps in the poor reader.

Perhaps the critic critiques this harshly (read: rudely) because they themselves cannot write. It is ‘enjoyable’ to judge and thrash the works of those who have chosen to place it in front of the critic. Will the tough critic stand up and be a good reader though?

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