I love feedback. Do you?
At our fortnightly meeting of the Ubud Writers Group, I wait for my turn to share. I hand out copies to the five people present and read it aloud as they follow along. I listen for laughter, chuckles and especially silences. Silence is not good.
When I finish, I look at the group, waiting for someone to start. One by one they share their opinions about the chapter.
“You’ll never understand the function of the comma, colon, semi-colon,” one of them says. We all laugh at this absolute truth. Punctuation and spelling are not my friends.
“I liked where Rina said…” and this pleases me, as I also thought I got that right.
“Your voice is too dominant. It would be better if Rina’s voice was stronger.” The comment is a great reminder that it’s her story.
The group’s oral feedback always gives me cause to think, contemplate and consider changes.
Members take away copies of everyone’s writing to edit at home and at the following meeting we hand back the pages marked up with editorial comments. I refer to these as I rework my writing. Their comments are invaluable.
Family and friends are also critical readers of my works in progress. Those far away are emailed chapters while the ones close by are given printed pages. Every time I solicit honest feedback and I often receive it. Some friends are tentative in their comment, not wanting to hurt my feelings, but I convince them I want to become a better writer and need their honesty.
“Wasn’t she scared?” one reader asked.
“Well, I didn’t see it.”
These words were so helpful and led to many happy hours of writing – struggling to show Rina’s fear.
Years ago my ego was easily bruised, but not any longer. In the journey to become a better writer, I relish honest feedback.
What about you?