Friday, November 22, 2013

Pros and Cons of the Workshopping Method--And How to Manage Feedback So You Keep Writing

We all have war stories from bad feedback.  If you've been writing and attending conferences or classes for more than a few years, you know the range of possible reactions to workshopping your stories:  from annoying to devastating, from "Let's ignore that comment" to "I'll never touch that piece again."

We're all searching for supportive (but not coddling) and careful readers who respect our ideas yet offer good ones of their own. 

Where to find this kind of feedback?  Some people get it from a writers group.  Some get it from workshops and classes.  Some exchange writing with a feedback partner.  Whatever works!  As long as the comments open you to new insights, keep you writing, keep you enthused and engaged with your own writing, they are useful.

But all of these methods are based on vulnerability--sharing ideas and images and attempts with people who don't see the full vision you do.  And most of these employ something called the "workshopping method," which has its pros and cons.  How do you set yourself up for success?  For the best possible outcome with the least risk?  It's not easy--but there are definitely things to embrace and things to avoid when workshopping your writing.