Wonderful writing groups are easy to create.

All you need is a space where people share their work and get helpful comments and suggestions that encourage them to keep writing. Ineffective writing groups are also easy to create. You need a few people sharing only negative writing feedback with writers to discourage everyone else in the community.

The point of any writing group is for members to help each other advance their writing skills. So, you need writers who offer valuable comments and suggestions in sensitive way.

The secret to any successful writing group is in how well people give and get writing feedback.

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What is Writing Feedback?

It is the comments and suggestions a person gets on a piece of writing. One person reads another’s writing and analyzes that essay, piece of fiction or nonfiction, poem, research paper or any other type of writing. Then, the reader shares his or her opinions and ideas about the writer’s work.

The problem is that not everyone knows how to give feedback that helps a writer grow.  Some people list everything they see as weak in a person’s writing. They don’t offer guidance on how to improve that piece of writing.  Even worse, they forget to point out the positive aspects of a writer’s work. Their feedback isn’t constructive and helpful.

Constructive writing feedback looks at what a writer does well and what a writer can do improve to their writing.  It assists a writer in composing his/her best work.

How Do You Make Writing Feedback Constructive?

There are 2 essential keys to creating a writing group that provides constructive comments and suggestions: 1) knowing how to give writing feedback in a group, and 2) knowing how to get writing feedback from group members.

 

How to Give Constructive Writing Feedback

 This simple 4-step process guides you through how to share comments and suggestions in a writing group:

 Read the writer’s draft and then:

  1. Point out what works well in that piece of writing.  Select at least 2 things. I like to point out 3 things. 
  2. Point out 2-3 areas that need improvement.  What are the 2-3 things that will make the biggest difference?
  3. Make 2-3 suggestions on how to improve that piece of writing.  Try to connect your suggestions to the areas you think need improvement.  If you can’t do this offer other suggestions.
  4. Share your favorite thing about the writing.  What did you really love?   This step is important because it encourages a writer to use those techniques in his/her work.  This is also a great way to create a supportive writing community.

 

How to Get Constructive Writing Feedback

 This 4-step process will help you get valuable comments and suggestions from your writing group.

  1. Before members read your writing, share your areas of concern. What do you want your group members to focus on when they read your writing? Are you worried about a part of your draft? Do you struggle with an aspect of writing?When you share your writing issues, group members will give you specific details on them. 
  2. As members share their comments, listen and take notes.  Don’t interrupt others and be defensive. 
  3. Ask questions about the comments.  If someone makes a general comment, ask him/her to be more specific.  Here you can follow-up and explain what you wanted to accomplish and get any other answers you need.
  4. Thank people for their help. Share what you found valuable and helpful. This step will help others give more insightful advice in the future.

The mission of any writing group is to nurture and support all the members.  The best writing feedback focuses on helping a writer grow. Keep that at the heart of everything you do in your writing group, and you’ll have community that benefits everyone.

Do you want to learn more about creating successful writing groups?  Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and watch my new 5-part series, Secrets to Wonderful Writing Groups.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrL68DkEqFe1kwGPQVJ5cWA?

Catch a new episode every Tuesday!

 

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash