This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Productive Praise

Some writers keep their words to themselves until that first draft is written. I take the opposite approach. When I am dreaming up a new idea or getting started on a project, I talk, I share, I expose myself to criticism. 

I need feedback. I want to know how other people experience my words. I don't necessarily change based on criticism, but I store the feedback and evaluate it, and use it when it fits. 

But sometimes, especially now that I am at the end of a project, I don't mind it when a critique partner says, "You did a great job, Stacy and, based on the journey I've been with you in the various incarnations of this story, you have become a fine writer." No comments in the margins, no red marks, no suggestions. Just a bit of support to think back on as we start to put this story out into the world. 

At a recent workshop I attended on giving feedback, we discussed the merit of the words, "Great job." Do they really mean anything? But if those words come after months (or years) of watching a manuscript grow from an idea to a truly completed piece, I think saying, "Great job," isn't just okay, it's productive. It means that after all the toil and strife, you've finally gotten it right. That's helpful to know too. After all, as writers we have it in us to revise forever. At some point we need that great job to help us put the work down.

What do you think of the words, "Great job?" What kind of feedback do you like to get on your writing?

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