BY NANCY KAY CLARK
CommuterLit Editor & Publisher
I WAS recently at a talk about building community through writing, where the speaker advocated for a positive (and only positive) feedback approach when evaluating someone’s writing. Her argument was that reinforcement led to more confidence, more writing practice and eventually better writing. And she does have a point — as anyone of us who have left a writers’ group or an encounter with an editor deflated and unable to write for days can attest.
However, I cannot entirely square her approach to critiquing with the rather harsh reality of the publishing industry, where the majority of writers encounter indifferent and abrupt rejection again and again and again. Even self-published authors have to face a crowded market and often less than stellar sales.
Do we do new writers a disservice by never telling them what they could do better? I don’t mean being overly harsh and abusive. And I don’t mean we don’t lead with telling them what they did well. Of course, we do. But to never discuss what can be improved? Not every writer wishes to be published, but for those who do, what’s the best way to prepare them to survive almost continual rejection and still believe in themselves?
What do you think? Write and tell me at admin-at-commuterlit-dot-com.