We're so pleased with the amazing response that we got to the post Your Turn. We thank each of you who offered feedback and suggestions. We'll be working through your requests in the upcoming weeks, so if you haven’t had a chance to add your ideas yet, please do so!
A recurring request was for more helpful, constructive comments to our Red Writing Hood posts each week. Many of you asked that we push ourselves as readers to be more helpful by offering true constructive criticism.
Purely positive feedback is flattering, but how do you feel when you get a comment that says, “Great post!” and nothing else?
So, what exactly is it that we’re looking for… do we really want honesty?
Do we want it watered down or straight up?
As we prepare to link up our posts tomorrow, it would be helpful to know what we are seeking here. If we’re hoping to get something authentic out of this connection that we share, we should be on the same page.
Since I don’t believe that we’re all just here to collect a pat on the back, let’s talk about constructive criticism. (For a great piece on this topic, see Lori's guest post, How An Education Can Ruin Your Writing.)
What exactly is constructive criticism? Well, we all know that it’s not, “this is terrible” or “wow…amazing!”
It probably looks more like this, “I love your opening line, but you use several clichés that weaken your writing,” or, “Your story is engaging, but your paragraphs are far too long. Try breaking them up to help your reader.”
Constructive criticism, while helpful, can be tough to hear. It may not make you happy to read it and I can guarantee that you won’t get the warm and fuzzies.
But you will learn where you need to grow.
Remember, although you may not like the feedback you receive, entertain it. In the end, you will choose to use it, or choose to lose it, but I encourage you to truly listen to it.
You may find that you even have an "ah ha moment" and come to appreciate the helpful feedback as you see yourself growing.
But, if you disagree, try not to get upset or defensive. Just simply and sincerely thank the commenter, as they have spent their time trying to help you.
Now I hand it back to you all. How do you feel about constructive criticism, both offering it and receiving it?
(If you aren't looking for criticism right now, that's completely fine. Just make a note at the end of your post that you'd prefer for us to just read and encourage you right now.)