27 Aug The Gift of Feedback
As a writer and an editor, one thing that you need to get used to quickly is not everyone is going to love your work. There’ll be times when you don’t get the tone quite right, where your humour misses the mark completely, or where your language choices aren’t what the client would have chosen. But the beautiful thing about writing is that there can be many ‘right’ approaches to communicating the same message and very rarely is a particular choice 100% right or 100% wrong.
With this mindset underpinning my own approach to work, I was surprised recently by the experience of a writer in a Facebook group I belong to. This writer had worked on an ongoing basis with an editor on some of her larger projects. On a recent project, the writer queried some of the changes and choices that the editor had made – not necessarily implying that they were wrong, but wanting to understand the changes. The editor responded by saying that if the writer did not trust her, she should find a different editor to work with!
Now maybe this editor was just having a bad day, or maybe the request for an explanation was poorly worded. But on the face of it, I was pretty shocked by the editor’s response! First of all, from a client service viewpoint, this narky response would be enough to put me off from working with this person again if I were the client. Setting the churlishness of the response aside however, I believe that it is vital that writers and editors be open to considering alternative approaches, or if they strongly believe that the choice they made is the best way of communicating with the intended audience, being able to respectfully explain and justify the reasoning behind those choices.
I truly believe that feedback and the drafting process is something for writers to embrace. Feedback is a gift that makes you think about your writing and be constantly willing to improve. So, if you work with me, know that I am confident in my skills and ability to deliver copy that you will love. But also know that if you don’t love it (it happens!), then we’ll be able to work together to make it right, without me being a prima donna about it.
Tell me in the comments, do you find feedback challenging to receive? Or maybe you are ok with getting feedback, but don’t feel comfortable giving constructive criticism?