Bloganuary day 9! Today’s prompt is:
What do people incorrectly assume about you?
Oh! Hahaha. Well, of course they incorrectly assume I talk too much, that I have to return to the house twelve times before I actually driveway (never forgot my pants though), and that if I put pen to paper (fingers to the keyboard) they’re going to receive an epistle…
Hmmm. Wait. No. We’re looking incorrect assumptions XD
Well this is a prompt that I’m actually happier to steer away from me personally and focus on writing. Way too much soul searching otherwise 😉
But it’s also an easy one because it has been a common, ongoing occurrence.
People incorrectly assume that I either don’t want, or can’t handle, the truth when it comes to honest feedback/critiques of my writing.
In fairness, the assumption comes as a result of the reactions by countless other writers before me for decades. Maybe centuries. But it’s still incorrect for me.
Sure I like hear the good things. The compliments that someone enjoys my writing. But when I’m drafting and editing, I’m trying to make my writing better. I want to improve. And you simply can’t learn how to improve when everyone tells you that they love your story and think it’s great.
Of course, this doesn’t mean I want people to be rude or demeaning with their feedback and critiques. Which also doesn’t do any good.
But to get honest feedback about what’s missing, what’s confusing, what doesn’t work for a reader… that is golden.
Unfortunately, writers in general are a wee bit sensitive. They get very close and personally invested with their writing, and many simply can’t handle feedback that may suggest their writing isn’t as spectacular as they believed it to be. They take it as a personal attack. Not to say all feedback is delivered well. Some of it is a personal attack. But you have to look past it. You have to ignore what doesn’t serve you and pick out the gems amongst the rubble in order to gain insight from it. Alas, some writers can’t and they get defensive, which in turn causes others to fear giving honest feedback when asked.
This makes it difficult for the writers who do want to receive honest feedback for the purpose of growing and improving their writing. But we are out there.
So the next time a writer asks you earnestly for honest feedback, be brave and take the plunge – don’t incorrectly assume that they don’t really mean it. Be nice about it, include points about what does work for you and what you enjoyed, but be honest too and share the details of what didn’t vibe for you. If it truly is really awful, try to find a way to offer gentle suggestions of one or two major components that would have a big impact on improving that diamond in the rough. Another trick is to ask the hard questions (I almost guarantee they won’t be able to answer… been there), here’s a list to tuck in your back pocket:
- What is the premise line of the story?
- What is the theme of the story?
- What is the MC’s ghost?
- What is the MC’s lie?
- What does the MC want?
- What is preventing the MC from getting what they want?
- What is the MC’s truth/need for the end of the story?
- What are the stakes?
At the end of the day, every story has the potential to truly shine. Some just need more polishing than others. Stories are also highly subjective and what you don’t enjoy might be completely up someone else’s alley. And that is honest feedback that serious writers will appreciate.
Do you know what people incorrectly assume about you and/or your writing? You know I want to hear from you!