But in a little while it may strike you as a small miracle that you have someone in your life, whose taste you admire (after all, this person loves you and your work), who will tell you the truth and help you stay on the straight and narrow, or help you find your way if you are lost.
Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott
I used to be very shy about my writing and never allowed anyone to read what I’d written. Subconsciously, by not letting anyone see my work, I felt that there was no way I could hear that it was “bad.” However, after a while, my writing was stuck in a rut and I couldn’t get anywhere with my creative work. Finally summoning up the courage, I sent one of my poems to a writing friend of mine to ask his opinion. He didn’t like it that much, offering some suggestions of what he thought it was missing. And that was fantastic! At that point, I recognized his criticisms as sincere suggestions and I thought about them in depth, but I didn’t feel like I’d suddenly lost all skill as a writer. To the contrary, I had fuel for how to improve my work.
Finding someone to give you good feedback is crucial to improving your writing, but it’s also important to find someone who will give you genuine and honest feedback. As nice as it may feel, asking a friend who’s afraid to hurt your feelings and will only say good things about your work won’t help you to improve, to grow through any challenges you may be coming across as a writer. Good feedback sees both where you are right now and beyond to your potential.
What does good feedback entail? It recognizes the positive, acknowledges your weak spots, and offers suggestions for improvement. Above all, honesty is key. When looking for the right person to give you feedback on your work, it may not be your best friend, your spouse, or your siblings. Instead, it should be a fellow writer you admire, a friend who never holds back his or her true feelings, or even a teacher. The goal of feedback isn’t to get validation that you’re a good writer (you are!), but to push you to improvement.
Daily Posters, how do you know when you’re getting good feedback? What about giving it?