The Experience Of Giving And Receiving Feedback

My brain melted. I spent an evening reading two stories and trying to critique them, constructively of course.

I’ve forgotten how much work giving feedback is, especially to people you hardly know.

I keep going back and forth between I’m being too harsh or honest. Besides, I would want people to be truthful by providing useful suggestions, not tell me my piece is perfect, which everyone did in elementary and high school.

I like to think I have a good grasp of grammar, so I can’t help myself when I see a comma splice or a dangling modifier. But I also realize grammar isn’t always the main issue. Writers want and need feedback on style, flow, etc.

Editing is a lot of work. It’s one thing to edit your own story. It’s a whole other beast entirely when you have to critique someone else’s.

I try to give feedback I’d like to receive. So I do what I can to balance content suggestions with grammatical corrections.

Ideally, I could sit down with someone and talk to them face to face about their work. But when does that ever happen?

On the other side, getting feedback is great but still a challenge.

I hate my ego sometimes for getting in the way.

I don’t always apply every comment. At times, I am dismissive or defensive.

It helps to get an outside perspective on your writing. And I think having strangers critique your story has its advantages. They don’t know you like your family and friends do. Most of the time, they don’t have to go out of their way to protect your feelings.

But I’m careful with my comments. I include question marks following my suggestions. I say maybe and perhaps so many times, it’s not even funny. I tend to add a disclaimer at the beginning or end, saying something along the lines of take what works, toss what doesn’t. If anything is unclear, ask me to clarify.

I guess I’m well aware my ego is big but fragile, yet I don’t want to hurt anyone else’s because I’ve been on both sides of the proverbial coin.

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6 thoughts on “The Experience Of Giving And Receiving Feedback

  1. It’s hard to give feedback. I feel that way every month when I meet with my writer’s group. Their feedback is always wonderful and I feel like I don’t have much to say. They’re all wonderful writers so I’m always like, “Who am I to tell them to fix this…?” It’s a rough mentality to be in.
    I always find it helpful to create a list of things for someone to look for. Like, I’m bad at description, so I ask people to mark where I have too little or where I seem to have too much.

    1. Agreed. It’s not easy to give or get feedback sometimes. Aw, I’ve been there. Exactly. That way people know what to look for and how they can help you. Vice versa holds true as well.

    1. I did too. I enjoyed self editing more than peer reviewing. I remember for my writer’s craft class, giving feedback was considered as part of our grade, so we had to do a good job. Maybe that might help?

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