Keeping the dream alive … responding to criticism

I was reading an article this morning about how we receive and how we give feedback and criticism and it made me think.

As a writer I am no stranger to having my work picked over. Fortunately those who have, have always been encouraging even if there was plenty to address.

I also give feedback as part of my day job and I like to think I have developed a style that is encouraging and empowering, but at the same time, honest. It has to be.

What I did was look at what I want from a critique, honesty first and foremost, but no point in saying what’s wrong if you can’t offer a fix, an idea, a suggestion. This is where I think various things combine — me being a writer myself, the fact I work in publishing (albeit on a small scale) but I have worked with lots of stories and lots of writers to know what works, being a reader helps, and my MA alongside numerous other courses so I have a strong grasp of what works and what techniques to use to make things work better. And like you, I return to books and I read magazines and I make sure the advice I give is as solid as it can be.

I once had someone critique my work who just said things like — nah, boring, cut, don’t believe you — and no offer of why or how. I found it demoralising. And I vowed I would never do that or make someone feel that way.

Yes I have worked on manuscripts by very new writers that need a lot of work, but handled right, the comments and suggestions and advice make it clear they have a lot to learn, but a good teacher empowers and makes the student want to learn, and doesn’t demoralise or make them feel like giving up forever.

It helps I am, a ‘people’ person, or I like to think I am, so I approach the job with passion and enthusiasm and do go the extra mile for people. I love it when they tell me they can see the improvement and when they start to have success.  And since I have my publishing contacts, the various projects I am involved in, like CafeLit, I do offer ways to kick-start careers where I can and have suggested they submit to various collections.

Not everyone can teach, I like to think I have the balance right between honesty and encouragement. All I can say is it seems to work and we start the official first full week of work this year, I have a full board of jobs and lots are new clients, as well as familiar faces — so I look forward to what we can do together.

2014 is going to be a great year, come along and see!

Have a great week everyone!

1455061_614034055330223_967283944_nPs the kindle version is still 99p!

 

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1 Comment

Filed under a book deal, Acceptance, Acknowledging who we are and why we write, Being a professional editor, being a successful writer, Being a writer, Believing, CafeLit, Critique, Critique groups, Crtiquing, Dreaming, Editing, finally being signed, formulas in writing, freelancing, How to edit opening chapters, I Have A Dream ..., ideas, Indentity, Learning to be a writer, Literary Fiction, Living the dream, Mainstream Fiction, Mentor, Mentoring, Non Fiction, Novel writing, Passion for books, Passion for life, Passion for writing, principles in writing, Proofing, Psychological Thriller, Publishing, Reach your potential, Rules in writing, Securing an agent, Self actualisaion, Self Promotion as a writer, Success, The Publishing Priocess, While No One Was Watching, Why we write, Winning, Writing

One response to “Keeping the dream alive … responding to criticism

  1. Hi Debz, Happy New Year. I endorse you as an editor and critique. When I sent you three chapters of my work, you were honest, and wherever you wanted changes, you explained why, gave a suggestion of what would work better, and helped a lot. Never once did you make me feel as if I was wasting my time writing, nor did you patronise or belittle. You have the right balance, and from that, I tell others to send work to you. (P.S. That lorry load of choccies you promised me for that can be dropped off round the back, thanks:))))))

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