When I use the word feedback, I don’t mean a spontaneous comment. Look at the construction of the word; it is a response.
A review is a good example of feedback, and I have my own set of rules when writing a review. Yes, I know there will now be some of you that will not be surprised by that admission.
I believe that in life, if you don’t have something constructive to say, then don’t say anything. When still in the retail management role I held by the maxim: ‘Praise in public, reprimand in private’. A combination of those two trains of thought takes us some way to understanding my attitude to writing, or not writing reviews
1. Even if I don’t like book or story, I make a point of not demeaning the author, or their efforts.
2. If a piece of writing is particularly bad, whether it be a story or book, I do not write a public review.
3. If I find; typos, incorrect syntax, or a glaring error, I make an effort to give the author a private ‘heads-up’ by email.
4. When I write a public review, it normally takes the form of a ‘praise sandwich’. My intro will be a positive statement, followed by the body of the comment which may have some constructive criticism (if appropriate), followed by a summary which will be another positive statement, even if it’s only a couple of words of encouragement.
All of us that call ourselves writers enjoy what we do, otherwise we wouldn’t do it. Nothing damages confidence and self-esteem more than a completely negative review. If we write a mainly critical review, we should try to find something positive to say.
As writers, we shouldn’t be competing with each other; we should be supportive. I believe that those of us who have learned lessons should be prepared to help others. I came to writing seriously in my mid-50’s and I continue to take heed of other writers of all ages.
Let’s go forward by using feedback as a positive tool, to enhance our community and improve the relationships in our chosen profession, (or hobby in some cases). Together we can take the joy and success to new heights. This is a call to arms my literary friends.
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see some of you tomorrow for G, let me think …