Hooray for When Feedback Agrees!

Yesterday was my Wordsmiths monthly meeting. We all trundled ourselves out in the dismal driving conditions (snow, freezing rain) and made it safely to the bookstore.

Usually, we each read our piece and then people offer feedback. But I’m working on a haiku collection on specific objects, and I’ve written so many different haiku I was having trouble narrowing down my choices. So, I did something a little different. At home, I took the 15 objects I’m working on right now and winnowed it down to the two strongest haiku for each–very different from each other and mostly equally liked by me–to share. That took a couple of hours.

At our meeting, I just read each pair aloud and paused for them to circle the one they thought was stronger. As Tunie or Tracy or someone pointed out, “It’s like an eye exam. Which is better? One or two?”

I didn’t ask for verbal feedback, because that would have gone way over my fair time. So I just asked for a very specific, discrete kind of feedback. Basically a vote. Then they gave me back my copies and we moved on.

This morning, I was kind of afraid to look. With four other Wordsmiths there, what if it was a split vote on most of the pairs? But I’m happy to report that five were unanimous, and nine were three votes to one vote. Only one pair was split. Hooray!

This was SO helpful! Usually, the more free-form, workshop approach works well. But this more yes/no, this/that feedback was exactly what I needed right now.

Next step: perfect the haiku that won the vote:>)


About Laura Purdie Salas

children's writer, poet, reader, visiting author, speaker/teacher, mentor, copyeditor, freelance writer
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