Here’s the reality. People want constructive critique. And all too often, they aren’t getting it.
Why not? Time is a factor. When you’re trying to read a prompt on your smart phone during your kid’s soccer practice, sometimes your insights get lost somewhere in between dinner, baths, and bedtime.
Another factor may be fear. You don’t want to offend, or come across as knowing more or less than you think you do.
There are many reasons why constructive critique doesn’t happen. But if you want that to change, here are a few things you can do as a reader and as a writer.
1. Remove the phrase “great post” from your vocabulary. If a post spoke to you, use your words and say how. “This post reminded me of….” or “This post made me feel________because____________” are two ways to approach it.
2. Speak specifically. Right click and highlight lines or words that captured you. Copy those phrases and explain what you liked about them. Or, if something confused you, copy those phrases and ask clarifying questions.
The third step puts the onus on the writer.
3. If you want feedback, ask specifically for it. You know that little spot at the front where you put the Write on Edge button and explain the prompt? Here’s where you tell the reader specifically what you want him or her to examine in your piece. For example:
“Please tell me where the piece drags.”
“Please explain if (and how) metaphor worked in this piece.”
“Please advise if Frank’s behavior seems believable and why or why not?”
Your reader can’t read your mind. Help him or her help you.
Now, there’s a lot more to constructive critique, but these three steps are a good start.
What do you think? Please share in the comments.