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Rambling Thoughts on Trusting Our Readers

By Harriet Silkwood

I've been thinking lately of trust. All of us presumably join a writer's group to mingle with other writers and share thoughts on our work. We want to read and be read. We want to share our excitement when a piece is picked up and published, no matter how small the publisher may be. We want to be told when something isn't working in our latest piece and we want to trust our readers to tell us the truth.

Do we trust our readers to tell us the truth as well as they can? Do we trust them when they say, "Your work is good," but not when they say, "Your work needs work." Or vice-versa.

I once gave a perfect rate and a ribbon to a piece I thought deserved it. To my mind, it was very good, finished and I would buy it. The author didn't trust my opinion and so took away the joy I felt. My ego was hurt, but I think I understand, I'm trying to anyway. He didn't respond so I have to guess. I came up with two possible reasons.

1. He felt I was giving a fluff review. Maybe he has received so many of these that he didn't trust any reader who told him he was a good writer.

2. He has received some very harsh comments with no explanations or encouragement to sooth his self-esteem. And he believes them.

Many writers, who are convinced their work stinks, choose to trust only the negative comments.

Some, who are convinced their work is always perfect, choose to not trust a reader who says otherwise.

A writer's self-confidence partially depends on being able to trust the readers of his group to tell him what they think - truthfully, gently and with encouragement. But, to depend on or blame readers for the state of our own confidence is placing an impossible burden on them.

Find a writers group who you can trust to tell you the truth. They should be able to do it constructively so it doesn't hurt too much. Search the web or better yet, come and look over Http://www.Writing.Com It's a community of writers who know how it feels to be on the receiving end of the deadly red pen, and they try very hard to soften the blows. They really do.

You can trust them to be honest and gentle.

Above all, enjoy your journey and have fun learning. Always Write On!

About The Author

Harriet Silkwood is a reviewer of new writers and has written many newsletters and articles on the subject of novice writing and reviewing with common sense and encouragement. Her portfolio may be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/storytime She is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ A site for Creative Writers.


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