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Article 202

Professional Writing Needs Feedback
Judy Cullins c. 2006

Writing a book? Web site? Promotional Materials?

Want to grow your writing to professional quality?

Whatever we write, we need to share it with our peers or professionals for feedback before we present it to our paying audience.

Getting writing feedback has many benefits. While sometimes a bit scary, if you can put your ego aside, you'll get valuable ideas to make your writing more clear and inspiring. You will learn how to identify your writing strengths and weaknesses, and you will develop your own writing style and voice.

You can exchange feedback with your peers via email or you can join a writing or book coaching group via telephone and email support to those like minded who are committed to boosting their business success.

What to Give Feedback On

1. Does the opening grab your attention? How? Is it clear?
2. What needs editing in syntax ? (grammar) Are tenses consistent? Is it easy to understand?
3. Does it use strong verbs rather than linking (to be) verbs? Do the verbs advance the story and tighten the writing?
4. Does your piece show, not tell? Do you use senses of sight, sound, emotions, touch? Do you use creative non-fiction techniques such as dialogue?
5. Does your piece over describe? Do you have redundancies that slow your writing down?
6. Does your writing use adjectives and adverbs sparingly? Do the nouns and verbs themselves describe?
7. Is it factually accurate?
8. Is it coherent? Does it flow and sound natural?
9. Are the dialogues believable? Does it have enough dialogue?
10. Does the ending sum up or compel your reader to want to keep reading?

Tips For Giving Feedback

1. Use the Oreo Cookie method. Mention what's working first, what's positive before what's wrong or not working.
2. Be aware of the writer's vulnerability about exposing their rough draft. Be compassionate.
3. Don't pontificate if you disagree with content. Give feedback from the audienceís point of view.
4. Give suggestions and write examples, but don't try to rewrite the whole thing.

Examples and Ideas for Giving Positive Feedback

- I like how you put complex ideas into easy to read copy.
- I love your humor. Point out the specific example you like.
- I love your vivid descriptions and metaphors.
- Your dialogue engages me. It keeps your message in the present tense.
- I like that your writing doesn't tell, it shows.
- Your chapter ending makes me want to know what's next.
- Your writing makes perceptive points.
- It opened my eyes, gave me a new way to look at something - I love the way it flows.
- I liked the opening. Give specifics.
- I liked the ending. Give specifics.

How to Exchange Feedback

One simply way is to send 2-3 pages of your document to your coaching group or other peers via email. Consider this a draft. They can put their comments after their name or within parentheses. Itís great to get your feedback right on the document so you can see quickly if it works for you.

You now know to give feedback so itís useful. You also need to know how to receive feedback.

Tips For Receiving Feedback

1. Be aware of your mind state. You will be anxious, vulnerable. You may feel hurt, even angry at negative comments.

2. Don't take it personally. Listen and write notes on what others give you. This editing will cost you $35-$70 an hour from a professional.

3. Develop a professional attitude. You want and need this feedback.

4. What do you really want? You want acknowledgment, affirmation, but you also want honest opinion from your audience. When criticized, take a minute; make sure you don't screen out the positive.

5. Be careful who you ask. Close friends and family may think anything you write is perfect. Their feedback may not be objective. Choose someone who can see your writing from your audienceís point of view.

6. Make clear what your objectives are for the work before you ask for feedback. If not, the feedback may not be useful.

7. When someone writes "this didn't work for me because..." think, maybe it's true and I need to revise. When one person doesn't get it, you can bet many more don't too.

8. Remind yourself you can't please everyone. Some people may not like your information. Just remember your own particular audience will want it.

9. Take notes and incorporate the feedback within 24 hours of receiving. This ensures you will remember the context. When you wait, you lose momentum too.

10. Choose what you want and need. Not all feedback is created equal.

After incorporating the feedback, resubmit it within a week to your team. You may surprise yourself how smooth and readable it is.

Remember, that easy-to-read writing will catch your audience's attention. When clear and focused, they will finish reading it and recommend it to others. They are your 24/7 marketing team. Use them well.

Last, remember we are all writers in process. Each of you has valuable contributions to another writer's growth. To communicate your message clearly with impact, be sure to use the writing feedback skills you learned here.

For more information about writing, books, and publishing click here.

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Book and Internet Marketing Coach, Judy Cullins, can help you build credibility and clients, sell a lot of books, and make maximum profits. Author of 11 books including Write your eBook or Other Short Book Fast and The Fast and Cheap Way to Explode Targeted Web Traffic" Get her free eBook"20 High Octane Book Writing and Marketing Tips" and two free monthly ezines at

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