Monday, July 16, 2012

The Gift of Feedback

Feedback, otherwise referred to as constructive criticism, can make the heart beat a bit faster. Each of us, in our lifetime, have been subjected to this feedback, yet society doesn't tell us either how to give or receive feedback well. Consequently, even when our intent is to help another, the feedback we give feels hurtful or mean. With writers, too often, this "constructive criticism" may stop a person from writing.

Some suggestions: When giving feedback:
1. Ask for permission first. "May I make a suggestion . . ." This gives the person the option of saying, "no."

2. Use "I" statements. "I have found . . ."

3. Remember that even though you may appreciate and accept feedback well, others may be more sensitive to criticism. Keep that in mind and adapt your comments to reflect how they may be received by someone else.

4. Do not say something to someone on-line that you would not say if that person was standing in front of you.

Some suggestions: For receiving feedback:
1. Resist the urge to become defensive. Remember, it is difficult to give feedback too!

2. Take a deep breath. You are not perfect. No one is. We all have things we can work on. This is not about whether you are liked or not.

3. Listen. Then find the truth. Okay, so we are all not perfect. We all have things we can work on. Somewhere in the criticism there will be a suggestion that will allow you to take your writing to the next level. The message might be filled with untruths, but somewhere, trust me, will be something that can be taken and used. So consider and evaluate the criticism. Then decide how to act.

4. Ask for help with your writing challenge. If you need it, ask. Trust me, there are people who want to help.

Finally, thank the person who have you a gift, the gift of believing you are worthy of feedback.

_____________________________________



D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a Young Adult Science Fiction series. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with her coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth  where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She has also compiled a collection of short inspirational material for writers in The Write Balance, Journaling the Writer's Life.
She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com
Her novels are available in electronic format here, or print format here
You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook
  

5 comments:

  1. Jean, Great post and one to pay attention to. Giving constructive criticism can be tricky and these are useful guidelines.

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  2. Great post. I try to only give feedback when someone asks, and I tried to find positive things to comment on as well as constructive suggestions.'

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  3. Terrific post and wonderful reminders that not everyone takes feedback and criticism the same way. I agree with Mary Jo to offer positives first then move on to the feedback/criticism.

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  4. Jean, may I make a suggestion about your post?

    Kidding.

    Do you think we should wait unless we're asked? (except if we're in a writer's group where critiques should be happening).

    Thanks for your reminder resisting the urge to be defensive and to find the truth in what is offered.

    Kathy

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  5. hehe Kathleen, enjoyed the joke. Really interesting article, Jean, which opens up all sorts of areas for discussion. In the main, people who ask my opinion rarely want to hear it. They would rather have their own viewpoint confirmed. But writers are a feisty lot, I reckon. We usually get up to fight another day

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