First and most importantly, there is one key rule about the feedback game. In order to play you have to ask yourself one question: what kind of feedback am I looking for? This is where you get to be brutally honest with yourself and with us about what you seek.
Feedback is give and take. It is a dialogue that deserves attention and nurturing. Giving feedback takes time and energy, receiving feedback requires openness and courage. Feedback should, at its very core, seek to build a person up not tear them down. It can be tricky for both people.
I hate asking for feedback and only getting “it was good” comments. Those kinds of comments do nothing for a writer and require little of the person giving feedback. Real feedback means two people are engaging in an open dialogue about a piece of work in an effort to make that particular work the best it can possibly be.
The way I see it, there are four kinds of feedback: technical (for grammar or technical issues); clarification (feedback that checks for fluidity and reader understanding); praying-to-the-writing-gods (cause we all need divine inspiration sometimes); and, my sometimes-favorite: needing-some-lovin’ (feedback for the insecure or pat-on-the-back feedback).
Asking for feedback means you are ready to risk putting yourself out therefor the world to comment on what you have to say. It also means you know you can take or leave any comment that comes your way. You are by no means obligated to use what someone has suggested, but in the asking you open yourself up to the considering.
Giving feedback requires honesty and compassion. Let us be forthright but empathetic, helpful and loving, gentle but direct. Above all, own your opinions and celebrate the writer within us all.
If you’d like to ask for feedback, post a short note at the end of your work asking for kind of feedback you are seeking: technical, clarity, praying to the writing gods, or needin’-some-lovin’. Highlight passages you need help with, or entire sections of your work. Respondents will then address your work. Remember, this is a dialogue. Let’s be specific about what we like or think needs work. Pay attention to physical reactions and emotional responses. Be honest and compassionate.