In September we had a very special session. We’d spent the preceding month reading pieces of each other’s work which we needed help and support on to improve. We’d made notes on each person’s work and came together to share our thoughts.
We’d noted down things we liked about the pieces, and things which could be improved, done differently, or just tweaked. We made sure that nobody was critical of each other’s work and just made constructive comments.
It was a very useful exercise and it was great to see what kind of projects the group work on outside of our meetings. Usually when we meet up we do a writing exercise, and sometimes we share what we’ve worked on the following month, but we don’t always get a feel of everyone’s writing style through these exercises.
Letting other people read and feed back on your work is really valuable. It gives you an idea of how an audience might respond to your writing. Your readers can also suggest new ideas which you may not have thought of, or let you know of new techniques which can improve the overall feel of your work. But you’re not obliged to make any changes they suggest – just consider everything objectively and use your discretion to make your own changes.
Feeding back on someone else’s work can be difficult, especially if you want to offer suggestions but don’t want to offend them. Make sure that any suggestions you make are backed up by a good explanation – changes should improve the audience’s experience of the piece, so make a link between this and your advice. Try to look for the potential in a piece, and focus on the good as well as the constructive - give them a platform to build on.
I hope everyone managed to take away some considerations for their work. For September’s writing task, try to make some edits to your work based on the feedback you’ve received from the group.
Not everyone could make the September session, so where possible we will email you your feedback, otherwise we will let you have it in our next session, to take away and mull over.
There are lots of changes over the next few months, so keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you’re in the loop!