Monday, 19 March 2012

Good feedback

I've just had some good feedback. It told me the things that were wrong with the piece I'd written. I now know how to make it better.

All feedback is good feedback. That might sound silly when you've just heard from a client that they hate what you've written for them and it'd be much better in a completely different way. At those times it's hardest to see the value in the feedback. But there will be some, I promise.

Generally, feedback is constructive. A client tells you they like what you've tried but it just doesn't feel right for their brand. That's the time you can accept the feedback or counter it, explaining why you feel this piece of writing is good for them. Or how, with small edits, it could be exactly what they need. That bit's your choice: to accept it or challenge it.

But my point about all feedback being good is this: you can always make a piece of writing different. Sometimes that different is better, sometimes not. But you'll never know how the second incarnation will look without showing the first to someone else. That could be another writer, an editor, a friend, your mum or, if they're keen to be part of the writing process, your client. Their feedback will make you think creatively about changing things. And that's a good thing.

I worked with James Henry -- a writer for Smack the Pony and Green Wing -- during the summer of 2008. He was my script tutor while I was studying for an MA in Professional Writing in Falmouth. James taught me how to deal with feedback.

Accept it all, he said. Smile and say thank you to everyone who takes the time to offer it. Then use the bits you think are most useful and will bring the best out of the thing you've written, and put the rest to one side. Learn how to improve by taking the constructive feedback, and learn how to grow by making big decisions about what to ignore.(I wrote a little something about this last year. It's timeless advice.)

Just remember that all feedback is good feedback. So always smile and say thank you.

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