[The following is only a glimpse of the topic … not a transcription. Also, this episode is about 6 minutes long.]
In the last episode, I encouraged anyone who is in a position read and respond to a writer’s work to affirm, affirm, affirm what’s working. I’m not talking about a formal reviewer online or at a newspaper who is reviewing a book. I’m thinking of someone in a writing group who’s workshopping a short story or a someone giving a friend feedback about a poem. If you’re in that kind of situation—helping steer someone and encourage their growth as a writer—I recommended you err in the direction of honest affirmation.
Honest affirmation is kind of like clicker training for writers.
It works especially well when you have the luxury of taking a long-range view, trusting that over time, the writer will self-correct the more confident he grows from knowing what he does well.
Sometimes, though, we don’t get that much time and have to point out a few things that would ideally be changed, eliminated, tweaked or rearranged to improve a writing project.
The next best thing to rewarding the good with positive input and ignoring what’s not working is to put into place a 6 to 1 ratio of positive vs. negative feedback.
- Positive Reinforcement: Reward What Works (Ignore the Rest)
- The Writing Life Podcast – Affirm, Affirm, Affirm
- Bethany Rohde‘s comment about ideally offering a balance of both critique and affirmation
- Can You Cope with Criticism at Work?
- What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage
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Listen for the full podcast (6:22). You can subscribe to The Writing Life with Ann Kroeker with iTunes and Stitcher.
You can also connect with me on Twitter and Facebook, where I’m always sharing ideas to help us be more curious, creative, and productive.
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