That’s my approach to reading other people’s manuscripts. It’s exhausting for me and terrifying for them, which is why I don’t do it often. I have more thoughts on the subject of giving and receiving constructive criticism over at Jacquelin Cangro’s blog.
This summer I turned in a manuscript to an agent. She sent it off to a reader. A couple of weeks later, I received an email saying, “Here’s the report. Take some time to digest it.”
“Take some time to digest it.” That simple phrase told me everything I needed to know. That simple phrase should also be stamped on the hand of everyone aspiring to be a writer. It’s not easy. But it’s necessary. If you think writing is a realm of inspiration, positive-feelings and pure artistic expression with little regard for the reader, you should stick to posting your free verse to LiveJournal.