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.