This is what I said. Is that what you heard?

One of the dilemmas facing anyone involved in creative endeavors is how to solicit and receive constructive feedback on their work.  Of course the ultimate response in terms of whether we have hit our intended mark or not comes from the final audience, it can often be helpful to create an intermediate audience before the work is finalized and delivered.  This is one place where we can bring others into our work and serve the community of our work.

How successful these partnerships will be is dependent upon two basic factors:

  1. The presence of reciprocity between participants. (It is more effective for example of writers are reviewing other writers so that there is a common understanding of the craft.)
  2. The clarity of purpose for the work. (There should be a pre-determined review structure so that what needs to be reviewed is in fact covered.)

When we consider reciprocity and having some level of camaraderie as part of the mix also introduces accountability.  Since all parties are participating for both the giving and receiving of feedback, they have a shred responsibility for producing work.  That then becomes an added bonus to the value of the group.

As for clarity of purpose, this is going to vary based on the actual genre.  For example, how a non-fiction work would be reviewed would most likely be different from fiction work.  The same would apply for technical manuals, children’s books, etc.  So while you could have a mix of author types, it would be important to keep some distinction in mind when reviewing the work.  However, that does not mean that the same group could not function across those genres.  For example, although my writing experience and work is limited to non-fiction, as an avid consumer of fiction, it would still be reasonable for me to  provide feedback.  And a fiction writer could be invaluable to a non-fiction writer in terms of feedback as they would be able to identify ways to incorporate story lines into the writing for added interest.  The point here is that good writing engages the reader and delivers on a promise.  The key is being able to identify that promise and provide feedback as to whether it was in fact achieved.

To sum it up – There is incredible value in being able to say to a group of trusted colleagues:

“This is what I said.  Is that what you heard?”

Enough said then.

 

About Kathi Laughman

Referred to by her clients as “The Plan B to Z Expert”, Kathi inspires them to see beyond probabilities to possibilities. They are stronger, happier and more financially secure than ever before. The result is the creation of far more value in the rest of their story than they ever dreamed possible. She serves professionals committed to continuously creating new pathways to success and significance.

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