Thursday, July 23, 2009

When to Seek Feedback on Your Writing...or Not

One of the discussions we have in writing workshops: when do you know a piece is ready to workshop? An early draft may be too embryonic, "too soft" to prompt helpful's just not fully formed. The writer, herself, is still trying to figure out voice, or point of view...basic elements. Comments, at that point, can be confusing.
Honor the potential, before the bloom. [Like the sunflower here in my garden...early draft.]

On the other hand, if a piece is heavily revised, and if you want everyone to say, 'perfect!' Then it's too finished-- and you're too invested in the piece-- for critiquing to do much good. [Except, you know, to burst your delicate bubble-- not helpful, btw.]

So when is a piece just right for feedback?

Here is an excellent guest post by Jennie Nash on the 10 do's and don'ts for writers seeking feedback. This Writing Life blog by Christina Baker Kline is a real treasure for writers...especially if you're writing a novel.
Critiques should open the blooms-- but they might sting a little.


  1. Mindy -- loved your new book and just left a comment on Amazon this morning. As for feedback, I still have a rough time with it, but find that the more I open myself to critiques, the easier they get. I'm an essayist, not a novelist, and find that personal essays are SO personal that criticism can be twice as painful at times. But I'm getting tougher with age and experience :-)

  2. Hi Cindy-- Hope you got my email and profuse thanks for the kind words and praise!
    Thanks for the comment here, too.
    Personal essays are actually more of a challenge for me to write--I like to escape from myself...although I find as one gets older, perspective and experience both provide more to write about for nonfiction and fiction. The years bring wisdom. [Or so I try to remind myself.]


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