Reading and Writing
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” — Matthew 7:1-2, KJV
I just finished judging three entries in a writing contest. And I genuinely liked each one; how cool is that?
Yes, this year, I got lucky. But, even on those occasions that I don’t love every entry, I still love being a judge — probably because I like inflicting my opinion on others.
No, I lied. My motive is actually (amazingly) pure. I want to help others, and consequently myself, grow as writers.
You see, in evaluating someone else’s material, it’s necessary to ask , “What do I like about this, and why?” Judging forces me to be a more critical reader, ultimately benefiting not only the contestant’s writing but also my own.
Plus, what goes around, comes around. I feel like I’m storing up good karma by judging with compassion, offering encouragement and gentle constructive criticism instead of nasty comments. It’s as if, by doing so, I’m asking the universe to ensure my own work will be treated with the same respect.
Make no mistake; I don’t claim to be an expert, not by a long shot. Still, I’ve read enough reviews to know that there is no “right” opinion about what’s good or bad. Rather, there are different viewpoints on almost everything, and the fact that I don’t expect the writer to take what I say as gospel frees me to be able to voice what I think about their story.
I hope that each writer will take my criticism in the spirit it was offered, as one person’s perspective on what they have written. By the same token, I trust that someone out there is someone doing the same for my entries.
And if being kind in my judgment results in a little good karma coming my way, so much the better.