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Giving and Receiving Feedback

by Keila Aartila about a month ago in advice
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On Writing

Giving and Receiving Feedback
Photo by Mahdi Bafande on Unsplash

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?

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About the author

Keila Aartila

Wife of a very tolerant husband and Mother of one teenage daughter in far northern Wisconsin with too many pets.

You can also find my Author page here!

Youtube Channel Here: Subscribe for Free & Share!

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Comments (32)

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  • Peter Thompson7 days ago

    The art of conversation is difficult

  • Sudhir Sahay16 days ago

    I agree wholeheartedly that feedback is key to improving one's work. I actually don't mind negative as well as positive feedback. If there is something in there that I can use to make my work better, I feel that the feedback is worthwhile. However, in no case do I take any feedback personally

  • Luke Fosterabout a month ago

    Think those are solid guidelines.

  • The Dani Writerabout a month ago

    Solid writing here Keila!

  • Angelina F. Thomasabout a month ago

    I love constructive criticism as long as it is not used as a weapon to wound others emotionally. Good criticism is a damn good thing. We all need it.

  • Joan Gershmanabout a month ago

    I agree with your advice. However, I would add the importance of being specific. I wrote an article about giving constructive criticism. In it, I said that giving broad generalizations, such as Good Job, or Keep up the Good Work was useless. A useful critique will give suggestions as to how specific phrases, paragraphs, or words can be changed to improve the work. That method works best to help me when I ask for feedback on something I have written.

  • A.R Woodsabout a month ago

    Your writing advice makes me really think on the common sense of reading and writing. People have senses and opinions, rarely is it commonly shared.

  • Annelise Lordsabout a month ago

    I love your power of words. I can feel the calmness generated by you while writing this piece. Keep doing a great job.

  • Annelise Lordsabout a month ago

    Your open criticism is probably not welcome. Many writers worry too much about criticism. That will helps to scar your creative imagination. Do your best. Be your best.

  • Annelise Lordsabout a month ago

    you can use it as a learning opportunity to improve your own work or understanding. I agree. Learning mode is never off for me.

  • Annelise Lordsabout a month ago

    If your criticism isn’t asked for, it isn’t helpful. I don't mind the criticism, good or bad. I learn more about myself and my readers.

  • Annelise Lordsabout a month ago

    I know that not every piece of work I share is super, and much is downright dismal. Write with confidence; readers will tell you what they think anyway. I write for myself and others. Not others alone.

  • Annelise Lordsabout a month ago

    As a reader, I don’t feel qualified to give a really harsh, in-depth critique, I agree with you. I put myself in the writer's shoes, mind, soul, and heart. Then dive into his/her power of words. Then I give what I want with a conscience and understanding.

  • Efulabout a month ago

    Good Job, I love your articles

  • Mabout a month ago

    I love this

  • Kylaraabout a month ago

    I think there are different ways to critic someones work. Sometimes I woud love to get more critics especially when I ask for. But a lot of people I ask to proofread my writing always just say it is good (probably to just not hurt any of my feelings)

  • Cindy Doryabout a month ago

    Great update. thanks

  • Uyvolgiabout a month ago

    Great article with lots of really good points. Thank you for sharing! (I put more thoughts in my fb post.)

  • Kendall Defoeabout a month ago

    Okay, you got me thinking of things... I teach at a college, and the one things that drive my students crazy is my feedback. Some find it unfair; others, too harsh. The thing is, I am always impartial and aware that people do not want to hear what others say, even if it is submitted online. But that is the price we pay for this work. No art works in a vacuum and we have to accept that there will be more sour than sweet out there. Interesting piece... ;)

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Fantastic!!!💖💕

  • Natasja Roseabout a month ago

    Very good points!

  • Em Starrrrrabout a month ago

    On point and well written. Feedback is an essential part of the writer's journey, in my opinion. Hearted.

  • Melissa Ingoldsbyabout a month ago

    Excellent top story

  • Cathy holmesabout a month ago

    Great piece. Thank you for sharing.

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