Saturday, March 31, 2012

Applying Feedback to Your Writing

So now you know how to give appropriate feedback. Now, let's switch gears and talk about what to do with feedback you receive. Yeah, yeah, you are probably not a writer. But what if you are? Or want to be? Consider this a "the more you know" instance.

Don't be intimidated by feedback. It is just another tool in your writer's toolbox. Learn to use it effectively and you will notice a difference in your project.

Don't think your work must be terrible because you didn't get much feedback. Some people do hold back from giving feedback because they don't have the balls to give the bad along with the good. Others will only give the good and withhold the bad for one reason or another. Some folks are better at giving feedback than others and everyone improves with practice.

Request feedback on your project before it becomes public knowledge. Use alpha readers and beta readers, submit to a critique group, post snippets to friends in a private forum. Get as much feedback as you can and think about what they are saying in return. Are they all picking up on the same thing? Might be a good idea to take another look at that then. Are they all over the map with suggestions, comments, and complaints? Take each bit and explore it fully before switching gear to the next bit.

Ask for clarification when you don't understand some feedback. Don't change something until you are crystal clear on what your reader is saying.

When you get feedback, apply it! Use the resources available to you to dig deeper and really make your project the best it can be. There comes a point when you really must say something is done, but until you reach that point, continue to improve what you can.

Just because a suggestion is made does not mean you have to follow it. This is your project. You have to make the tough choices. Case in point: Oxford commas. Steven hates them and I think they are necessary as they look (and sound) clean. He took out the last comma in nearly every instance in my early drafts. I put every single one of them back in later drafts. It is a give and take thing.

Say it with me, feedback is a good thing. Use it wisely and it will be your friend.

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