How to get or give good feedback
Dos and Do nots
My mistakes as a writer seeking feedback here were that I didn’t have readers yet. I was looking for anyone to give me some feedback. When one of my readers said her friend wanted to read it, I jumped at the chance for another reader.
One in which there was an agreed way in which feedback was to be given. This person broke the rules of the group and unfortunately because the feedback itself broke another of my tips, it was disheartening in the least.
Another person insisted on calling me instead of writing anything down. She proceeded to yell at me for five minutes when she called me without much notice and then hung up on me because she “had another phone call she had to take.” I literally could not process her feedback at all. It was a waste of both of our times, and also extremely hurtful for me.
I had one reader, a new beta reader, who gave me homework, an entire craft book to read in order to receive her feedback because she frames all her writing feedback for particular advice from that book. I’m all for reading craft books. But requiring a writer to read a specific one to get your feedback means you are assessing above what your reading relationship is meant to be. Especially if you are a new beta reader for them. Work your way up to CP before assigning homework.
I had another reader who left comments all the way through that were “reaction comments.” To be fair, reaction comments are awesome and often super helpful. However, if your reactions are negative and slightly nasty, maybe in a tone that you talk to your very good friends in, and you aren’t reading for a very good friend or someone you have even read for before, maybe tone down your reaction comments or try to keep them framed positively. (I did ask someone else to read through those comments to make sure I wasn’t being too sensitive and she said wouldn’t accept comments like that from her CPs and BFFs let alone someone she doesn’t have an established relationship with.)
Bad Feedback Advice
I have been told as an ND person my entire life that I need to grow thicker skin. You know what? That’s not how my brain works no matter how much others want to belittle and bully me and just have me take it. I’m not their punching bag. Everyone has a different line for what is not approrpriate. But “oversensitive” has long been applied in a derogatory way to ND people, and I am who I am. So, those who feel like writers are egotistical snowflakes who can’t take criticism? Maybe you are just being mean and not actually being critical in a manner that is remotely helpful and actionable. Yes, there are writers who are ovelry precious about their work. But make sure that’s what’s actually going on.
All of the above examples I showed to people who have thicker skin than I and they all agreed those were way over any sort of line of acceptable feedback to give or receive.