Sunday, 8 November 2009

Reacting to Feedback

I don't usually read the sports pages but this caught my eye. It's a quote from an interview with Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager.

"The common denominator of successful teams is that the players are intelligent. That does not always mean educated. They can analyse a problem and find a solution. The common denominator of a top-level person is that they can objectively assess their performance. You speak to a player after the game and ask him to rate his performance and if he analyses well, you know he is the sort who will drive home thinking, 'I did this wrong, I did that wrong.' His assessment will be correct and, next time, he will rectify it. That player has a chance. The one who has a crap game and says he was fantastic, you worry for him. This is also true in life beyond football."

And it's true in writing. The student I found hardest to teach was the one who, when offered feedback on his work, responded: 'I'm perfectly satisfied with what I've written.' No criticism of his work was allowed; even the mildest suggestions were rejected. If you're writing solely for yourself then that's your choice, but if you want to be published you have to learn how to analyse your writing, recognise problems and find solutions. The process is one of constant feedback and adjustment, whether from editors, friends or readers. If you're perfectly satisfied with your writing and need no further feedback then I'm happy for you, but I doubt you'll be playing in the Premier League.

3 comments:

hackedoff said...

Ties in nicely with a previous post about the editor's comments... it's a little bit scary letting others see your work though, in case they point out something that you realise you have to rework - it's hard enough writing it the first time :)

Particularly liked last week's post about "little and often" - seems to be working out that way for me - write rubbish and then go back and edit it later - hadn't thought about writing descriptions when I'm stuck though... excellent idea.

Love the blog - feels like DCW10 was only the other day, now :)

Sarah Duncan said...

Oh yes, rewriting is tough, but it's part of the process. Glad you like the blog - I'm guessing - DCW10 was ages ago - is it Al?

hackedoff said...

It is indeed :)