Monday, January 14, 2008

Feedback is a wonderful thing.

My blog got its first comment yesterday. Thanks, Mike!
And it wasn't even some random obscenity or blog spam, it was actually about my blog.

As writers, we may write because of our ideas, and because of our drive to get our ideas heard and understood. We may write with the intention to match our own vision and our own desires for the written work. We may have myriad personal and self-centered notions about how our creation of our work is primarily about our creative process. But nonetheless when we write, our medium is one designed for sharing.

Most writers want their work to be read. Most writers want to be heard, acknowledged and respected.

Feedback is great. It lets us know that we have been heard. It tells us that someone has not only paid attention to what we said, but taken time to respond.

It's best, of course, when the feedback is positive. We always want to be stroked.
But the feedback isn't always positive, and that, when taken from the right point of view, is just fine, too.
First of all, even negative feedback that attacks our work shows us that it has some affective power. We wouldn't have gotten any feedback if we hadn't generated an emotional response. And then, negative feedback can also give us clues as to how we could revise.
Some feedback is incomprehensible, but that can hardly drag us down, and can, possibly, show us something about how others are reading our work.

Of course negative feedback can be difficult to take. If we focus on the rejection, the emotional drain is considerable. But if we can only keep our focus on what the feedback teaches us, we can see it as a gift from the universe that helps us find a way to improve our writing and ourselves.

And talking with my clients, I'm of the opinion that getting negative feedback from one's academic advisor is still better than getting no feedback at all.

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