If you’ve had an appraisal on your work, read this post. We discuss four things to remember when receiving feedback on your writing.
Receiving feedback on your work is a big step for a writer. What you do with that feedback can have a big effect on the quality of the product.
I don’t think any writer relishes receiving feedback, unless of course it is only full of praise and wonder, but regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative you have to do something with it.
Receiving feedback can be overwhelming and many writers are unsure where to start.
4 Things To Remember When Receiving Feedback On Your Writing
Here are a few tips for receiving and using the feedback:
1. Wait (& Breathe).
Before you start working with the feedback give it a few days. We tend to read the feedback quickly and want to start applying it as soon as possible. Also, we tend to only focus on the negative and then we feel an overwhelming urge to toss the work. Give yourself a few days. Read and reread the feedback. Really, it makes a difference.
2. Make A Copy.
It’s tempting to jump in and start making changes, but save a copy. You may need to go back to the original if you lose your way. Also, develop a system that will help you keep track of the various versions. Naming your document final.final.final2.finalfinal.FINAL.doc or changes.doc is a bad idea. Try using the date or numbering your drafts. Trust me, it helps.
3. Decide If You Want To Use The Feedback.
You do not have to use any or all of the feedback given to you. The reviewer may make suggestions that you do not like or they may suggest a different direction. It’s up to you, not them. You may also receive contradictory feedback. Think carefully about what you want to do. Decide which reviewer is most in sync with you and your story, and work with their advice.
If you completely disagree with the feedback perhaps you should get a second or third opinion, but if a few, qualified reviewers say the same thing it may be in your interest to try their suggestions. Remember, it’s your story. You get to decide.
4. Fix One Thing At A Time.
Some edits are easy. If you have used tons of adverbs, it’s an easy fix to remove them or replace them with nice strong verbs. Making structural changes are bigger and will take longer and then you should work through each scene, but don’t try to work on pace, and character development, and reducing description at the same time. You’ll make it very hard for yourself. Create a list of the changes you want to make and work through it.
The Last Word
The goal of asking for feedback is to improve your work. Remember that when you receive feedback. No one has written the perfect book. All books have their quirks and oddities that have survived the edits and that is what makes them special. Fight for your quirks, but be mindful of why you asked for the feedback in the first place. Be kind to yourself and to your work.
If you want an appraisal on your writing, please click here: Appraisals
by Mia Botha
Buy Mia’s book on how to write short stories: Write the crap out of it and other short story writing advice
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