Instant Writing Improvement: Feedback

By Bhalachandra Sahaj

Hi everyone.

Today, I’d like to talk about how important the opinion of an unprejudiced outsider is, given this person is not involved in the process. It is especially important if you are a writer and seek ways to improve the quality of your writing.

As a writer, you can hardly evaluate your own work objectively, unless a month or more passes since the moment of writing this or that piece of your novel/story/scientific paper/article/etc. However, receiving an instant opinion about it, would be definitely useful. And here is when you need outside feedback.

Ironically, the only people who will never read your writing are your parents, friends, and spouses (well, this is a joke, but it happens often). So, make them read your writing! You definitely have at least one acquaintance who is fond of reading. Ask this person to read what you have written, and to express his or her unprejudiced—and what is more important “uncombed”—opinion. Ask him or her to not spare your self-esteem and to say what he or she really thinks about your writing.

To make his or her task easier, provide him or her with a list of points he or she needs to cover while giving feedback. For example:

  1. How does it sound in general?
  2. How is it read (easily, with boredom, etc.)?
  3. What exactly is wrong?
  4. Is it credible?
  5. What did you like and dislike the most?

Your questions can be different, but make sure to make an accent on what you want to know the most.

Don’t ask for feedback to hear something like, “Oh, wow, you’re writing a book, great, nice job!” You are asking a person to be your mirror, so you want your reflection to be close to reality.

Prepare yourself for negative comments. Prepare yourself for comments much more negative and unexpected than you anticipated. Sometimes it happens that people judge too harshly. It is all for your own good; tune your ears to distinguish constructive critique and filter subjective remarks. A look from the outside is a valuable experience, so use it wisely, and don’t consider yourself offended by the fact that someone might not like your writing.

Have fun writing!

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