Sunday, 26 December 2010

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.


badas2010 said...

I've found it hard to get feedback from people whose opinion I would respect. The considered and objective crits I've had have been encouraging but scarce, and as I'm not trying to make any money from my writing, I've fallen back on free downloading ebooks on obooko. I've only just done it, (a week ago), but I'm quite happy with what's happened so far. I'll be final editing and putting on some more as time goes by, and that'll do for me. Sorry if I sound too much like your other guy!

badas2010 said...

I've thought a bit more about this.
If you'd have been the editor who first received Dan Brown's 'Angels and Demons' would you have accepted it without any constructive comments? I think not. And yet .....