My own writing has improved, in my opinion, by leaps and bounds over the last year or so. Why is that? My theory is that it has a lot to do with the critiquing of work that I’ve both given and received.
As a reader, I don’t feel qualified to give a really harsh, in-depth critique, but I can say generally how I feel about a written work and what spoke to me personally. For myself, I get a grasp of what works and what doesn’t for my own writing. This is also for personal gain. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.
As a writer, I do like to know whether or not a piece I wrote resonated with a reader and possibly why or why not? I may ask for clarification or further discussion upon consideration, or I may just feel encouraged by a couple of motivating words, such as "Nice job!”
I know that not every piece of work I share is super, and much is downright dismal. My main goal as a writer is to improve my writing in order to best connect with readers, and the most effective way I have found to do that is to read analytically and to contemplate critique of my own work with an open mind.
As A Reader - Giving Feedback
1. Keep it Positive, unless asked
When you read a piece and it speaks to you, let the author know that! If you don’t like it, unless they’ve specifically asked for an in-depth critique, keep it to yourself. If your criticism isn’t asked for, it isn’t helpful. An author of a work usually likes to know if a particular piece they’ve worked on connected with the reader.
2. Learn from the content
As a reader of a piece, whether you like the work or not, you can use it as a learning opportunity to improve your own work or understanding. You can look for what works for you, what doesn’t, and why or why not?
3. Respect the Author’s efforts
It takes some kind of bravery for a writer to share their work publicly. It’s not up to you, the reader, to decide if a work is overall bad. You may not like it, but that’s personal opinion. Someone else may find it incredible. Read it, learn from it and offer the author a statement of positivity! Unless asked otherwise, you’re open criticism is probably not welcome. You’re appreciation for the author’s efforts is.
As A Writer - Receiving Feedback
1. Don’t take it Personally
As an author, if you are brave enough to put your work “out there,” you’re going to get unsolicited criticism. Some people will like your work, some will not and some will be quite vocal about it either way. It’s up to you to decide whether or not their opinions mean anything to you.
2. It’s your Choice
As the writer, it’s always your choice to accept the given advice for changing your story or not. Does it make sense to you? Maybe it’s something to keep in mind for future work. Is the advice completely irrelevant? Discard it. You’re the author. It’s up to you.
3. Be Gracious
Especially when you, as the writer, ask for feedback. You’re obligated to consider it, but not obligated to accept it, of course. Instead of getting defensive or snide, maybe look at your work from a different perspective, take the time to decide the relevance of the critique to you, then thank the reader for giving you their own time and contemplation.
Thank you for reading! What do you have to add about feedback? How do you find it helpful?
About the author
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