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Story ID:2680
Written by:Nancy J. Kopp (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:OurEcho Community
Location:Manhattan KS USA
Person:Nancy Kopp
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More on Comments Made

I read Gail Martin’s posting on what the comments regarding her writing means to her. I agree with so much of what she said. Most everyone likes to know they’ve touched the life of another person in some positive way. When readers like a posting and tell the author so, it pleases them but also encourages them to continue writing.

Occasionally, there will be comments in a negative vein. A reader may not agree with something written, and it’s their right to say so, but hopefully in a diplomatic and humane way. No ranting and raving necessary. I think writers need to know these negative reactions to their work just as much as the complimentary comments. It’s only then that a writer can assess their own work through someone else’s eyes and perhaps make some changes. Or they can shrug their shoulders and go on writing what they feel is right for them. We all have choices. Writers choose what they want to write, and readers choose what to read.

I belong to a critique group of published writers, all of whom know the writing world very well. When they like one of my submissions, I’m thrilled, but sometimes they don’t like it and make dozens of suggestions as to how to fix it. I could be hurt and slink off into a corner to lick my wounds like a cat after a fight, or I can study their suggestions and revise the submission. I have found that I learn so much from their criticisms. A lot of critique groups are afraid to point out problems in a piece of writing for fear of hurting feelings, but mine has no qualms about it. And we all learn from one another. I know that I have become a better writer because of those sharp criticisms I’ve received. It boils down to having the proper attitude. I know they point out my deficiencies in order to help me grow as a writer, and so I welcome the negative critique as much as the ones that praise.

One last thing regarding the comments made at Our Echo. A very small percentage of the readers make comments. Maybe because it takes a little time. Maybe because they don’t think they’re qualified to judge a piece of writing. And of course, here at Our Echo, we aren’t judging the technical part of the writing as is done in a professional critique group, but writers do want to know if a piece touched a reader in some way. They do want to know if a piece turned a reader off completely. They like to know that something they wrote triggered a memory for a reader. Writers write to connect with a reader in some way. That old ad that said, “Inquiring minds want to know” hit the nail on the head.

So I would encourage more readers to make comments but make them only if you are sincere. Don’t say “This story made me feel good.” unless it really did so. A writer who receives comments is more likely to stay on board and continue posting. Your comments provide incentive to writers.