• j.mee

Take the note.


Waiting for feedback. A nail-biting experience.

I attend a monthly writer's meeting where we share pieces of writing with the group then receive feedback on our stories. I actually really love both getting and giving feedback in this forum. Get a group of twelve people together and ask them to speak on their impressions of any piece of writing and you will receive some very different answers from your own interpretations. But, there is a habit we writers enact, and I'm here to say we shouldn't. Just take the note.

Do not defend.

When you're still in the feedback stage of writing and someone has a question, suggestion, or even has an interpretation that is quite off the mark of what your words intended, just hear them out.

Listen.

You don't have to agree with them, and you certainly don't have to implement a lick of what they're saying, but now's not the time to tell that potential audience member, 'oh, well, this is what I meant.'

If it didn't come across in the words on the page, you already failed. What you 'meant' should already be there.

Maybe that person isn't your audience. Maybe that person is a looney tune. I don't know. But you failed to reach them. And guess what, looney tunes buy your books. They read your articles. They go to your plays.

So, just listen. Take the note they're giving. Consider it. Then rework as you deem necessary.

There's no need to explain or defend.

If you still feel your work requires further explanation, that's probably a good indication it needs another thoughtful pass. After all, once it's published, you couldn't possibly go to every library and bookstore to tell other readers 'oh, well, this is what I meant."


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