We want feedback and we hate feedback. One of the toughest parts of the writing process can be hearing the reader’s and the editor’s perspective. We all want to improve our writing and if we want readers, then it’s critical that we allow critique.
Below is the Minnesota Nice way to critique. I tend to take my critiques New York style. Know your writer!
Critique the writing, not the writer.
Always start with the strengths. My favorite part was… What worked for me was… What didn’t work for me was…
Be clear about your reasons for the suggestions you make. Maybe you could try… rather than saying I don’t like that.
Wait to respond until after everyone has weighed in.
Take notes and review them at a later time, when you’re not feeling defensive (it’s what we do!) to see if they help/fit/work.
You don’t need to use the critique suggestions. You know your own writing. But be careful to hear what the reader is saying about how they experience your work. That’s the space you need to work from – if you want readers to read what you write.
Technical writers know that user feedback is essential. What they write must be understood by readers. Creative writers, keep that in mind as you process reader comments.