The Art of Correction

Recently a Blogger friend invited me to submit some work to his site. I responded that although I was honored at the invite I did not consider my writing up to the standard I felt such an endeavor was worthy of. I did invite him to use any portion of the piece or edit what was there.

He sent me a reply which highlighted areas where I might improve the content and direction of the writing from a reader’s perspective… valuable input that I can use.

Most of the time we neither solicit or encourage feedback, particularly if it shows up an area where we have a weakness. This is not unusual, let’s face it who wants to be reminded of their shortcomings. This is a strategic point where I think the proverbial rubber meets the road. Here is where I am faced with a decision to either embrace some constructive criticism or slap my hands over my ears and sing-song “I’m not listening, I’m not listening”. How  am I to get better at something, in this case writing, if I am not open to correction? I can practice till my fingers bleed but if no one is there to say “You are doing it wrong”, then I will continue to practice doing it wrong until I’m an expert… at doing it wrong!

This is not invitation for every so-called writer to jump on the bandwagon to pummel some unsuspecting blogger with constructive criticism. If I am reading someone who has been successful at writing, and have identified them as someone who is doing it right, that is when I may invite them to critique me because evidence of their experience validates them as capable of giving me good advice. Furthermore, I would want someone who has my best interests at heart to give me advice rather than someone who doesn’t really care whether I am successful or not. Finally, if someone asks you for constructive criticism, how you give it makes a huge difference in the way it is received and applied in that person’s life.

A good example of someone who has the art of correction is, if after you have received it you don’t feel like someone who has hit you with a sledgehammer, oh, and you look forward to continue writing afterwards.  Thanks, Donald.



About JT

I am a happily married man with 6 children and have an autoimmune disease. I hope to share my story and explore others' stories and perhaps together both of our lives will be enhanced.
This entry was posted in Creative Writing, freedom, introspection and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Art of Correction

  1. Your post reminds me of the red pen in school and the teacher with said pen was not all that kind – ha! I feel that you can be supportive and give constructive feedback as well as ask permission before doing so. Have a Great Day:)

    • JT says:

      Hmm sometimes I have received constructive criticism that felt more like getting a whack with a 2×4 🙂 Blessings Renee.

  2. Donald Miller says:

    You’re welcome JT. I like your post on this. I’m going to find the right place on the site for it.

    I was on some character’s blog who won the Pulitzer Prize. I never got anything but criticism. It did improve my writing. But the constant negativity without any positive comments was annoying, among other things. It did toughen me up though. I can take quite a beating with that 2X4 and it wouldn’t bother me.

    • JT says:

      Yes well there is I suppose tough love, it is probably a short trip to tough out of luck. Not every one has a teachers heart 🙂

  3. Donald Miller says:

    I placed it on the Writing Well page, in case you’re curious. Thanks, friend.

  4. Hey, JT, Donald is a very interesting guy. And I mean that is the best of ways, I have nothing but good to say about him, he seems to be one in a million. I got you on my favorites list now, and will be showing up more. Keep up the good work, and good teaching. (I won’t say more about Donald, cause I don’t want him to get a big head. lol!)

    • JT says:

      Hey there Cowboy, Yes I agree he is interesting and I appreciate his desire to explore things even if there is a different viewpoint. I hope things are going well ion your neck of the woods and I will be keeping in touch. Keep on speaking the truth in love no matter what!

  5. Donald Miller says:

    Just last night, round about the time I was about to turn my computer off, someone left a message. He informed me of how awful the navigation for the WordExpress Weekly was. He had three suggestions for improving it. I guess I’m more or less like everyone else in that I like to think of myself as being above the fray. Thoughts of how to respond went through my head, “I’m only one person operating the site” . . . that sort of thing. Then I got thinking: Wait a minute. What if I actually followed his advice.


    Well, I did. Took me three long hours, but I did. It actually is much better.

    • JT says:

      I think when you are dealing with creative people everybody has a different idea of what is right or what works best or how it might look better if… weeding through suggestions, some by experience, and some by trial and error is how we not only improve but also, I think it helps define our own direction, if that makes any sense 🙂

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