Ever since I completed my first story with crayons and a notebook of blank pages, I’ve craved feedback. I would spend hours writing, drawing, scribbling, imagining, inventing; and in so doing found some of the greatest fulfillment this author has ever felt. But as wonderful an experience the composing of stories truly was (and still is), one of the best parts of the entire process was sharing.
I can still remember the way my cheeks would flush with excitement and my legs bounce with anticipation as I stood with notebook in hand for one of my parents to look over the mess of sounded-out words and childish storylines, which seemed brilliant and revolutionary to me at the time. Seeing their smiles, hearing their laughter, and knowing that it was my work which brought about the delight I saw in their eyes was overwhelming.
While I still very much value the approval of others when it comes to my work (I mean, who doesn’t like praise?), I have since come to value others’ opinions for far different reasons. As a child, the question was, did you like it? Now I ask, what did you think?
I’ve been writing all my life, and my approval rating thus far is pretty good—and there’s a reason. Feedback. Though a great deal of what I’ve learned as a writer and how I’ve grown has come from my study of past authors and from my own practice and passion, a significant aspect of my growth comes from feedback.
Why? Because hearing another’s opinion, thoughts, feelings, as well as the ways in which they were impacted or moved tells me if the message I was intending to convey came across clearly and with the amount of weight I wished it to possess.
It’s really as simple as that. Feedback tells me if my message is getting lost on my audience, if my story is missing elements or doesn’t make sense in certain parts. Feedback lets me see my work through the eyes of my readers, and lets me know how they are affected. While I will not forsake a style or a message or a story because someone says they don’t like it (I believe pandering to every critic and bowing to what’s popular for approval’s sake is the mark of a weak writer and an unconfident individual), I do value hearing the reasons why certain content is disliked. It helps me know my audience.
So please, I beseech you, if your eyes happen to fall upon a page I’ve written, reach out to me and tell me what you thought. And please be honest. I won’t lie and tell you that negative reactions don’t particularly uplift me, and positive ones don’t leave me jumping up and down and screaming with joy, because they do. Nevertheless, as I say to those of whom I personally offer my work, love it or hate it, please give me an honest review. I don’t need a professional, several paragraph response; just a simple statement telling me what went through your mind as you read.
Thank you to all who have taken the time to read my work and have given me feedback. You truly are invaluable to me! Thank you for helping me grow.
C. K. Conners
©2015 by C. K. Conners