What’s the best way to give and receive constructive critique?
I think the most effective way to give critique is to ask questions, especially where you don’t understand what the other writer is saying, or why they’ve made their particular choices. I know that for me, trying to answer these kinds of questions often opens up the work in ways I hadn’t expected, and points out any assumptions that I’ve made as well. Try to be curious, and to understand your own preferences and biases as well. It’s also important to be open-minded when receiving critique – it’s always up to you to decide whether or not the suggestions fit, but you do have to first try them on for size.
What role does collaboration play in your writing practice?
So much of writing happens entirely alone and entirely inside our own brains – I do love this, especially for its calm and quiet rigour, but it also means that it can be very easy to lose perspective. Collaboration and community are so important because of that: they keep me sane, and often stop me from despairing. I also find collaborative projects to be really energising and sparky, and that excitement almost always bleeds into the rest of my work too.
Where are you currently finding inspiration?
In long and strange conversations with friends and other writers, and in other peoples’ books, as well as in the wonderfully strange interactions I have with, or witness between, strangers in public spaces – these are always my go-to places.
Fiona Wright is a writer, editor, and critic from Sydney. Her first book of essays, Small Acts of Disappearance, won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize. Her poetry collections are Knuckled, which won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award, and Domestic Interior, which was nominated for a Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Her new collection of essays is The World Was Whole.
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