Feedback is a Gift


 

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Feedback is a gift, it's often said. Wrapping gifts is an art, and as with birthday or holiday presents, not all givers are, well, gifted with the ability to package neatly.

As creatives, we may need to catch ourselves before we react to that gift of feedback. The beautiful painting, dazzling necklace, or novel you've spent weeks or years crafting won't be everyone's idea of art. But like our creations, feedback comes from the heart.

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I’ve been writing for several years with the goal of being a published author. It has been a journey. The first steps along the path were rough. Tripping over problems that at first crushed me, I’ve grown and now take these obstacles in stride. Usually. 😊 I don’t think any writer’s ego can go on this trek without some stumbling and humbling. 

It takes perseverance to stay on your path when a reader comments how THEY would have written the book, or even what your character should have been.

Over the years I’ve learned to be more gracious when accepting feedback. I now look at the work through the reader’s eyes to find some kernel of insight that I can use to improve my writing.

This experience with feedback has provided me with my own guidance:

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Write the first draft with my heart and soul, put all of my passion into it, and let my spirit soar. Then, edit with the reader’s heart and soul as the focus so I can pull on their heartstrings.

 
 
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I also look at feedback as an intimate peek into the giver's inner psyche. What do her words really say? When pressed for more specifics, are her insecurities or suppressed wishes revealed? What I learn enables me to better shape my characters in future books.

So, the next time you receive the gift of feedback, no matter how poorly packaged, see if you can dig deeper into what drives these comments. This has helped me develop skills to create deeper meaning in my stories, and I could also find a new beta reader.


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