Both of my jobs are “high feedback” situations. As many of you already know, I work seasonally as a Zoo Educator, teaching kids of all ages about animals. There is no end to the feedback I get from my management and co-workers. All with the hope to improve my performance. As a writer, I get tons of feedback as well – from reviews, mentors, my critique group…just to name a few. So, what do you do when this feedback calls for a course correction?
Always Listen. It is important to take in the advice. This is another perspective on your work. And, hopefully, as we are all adults, this person is looking out for your best interest. They are wanting you to succeed and improve. Another set of eyes or ears on your work can only benefit you.
Respect. Even if you don’t agree with the feedback, I would advise you to be respectful. Even if the person is not published or is newer to the field than you are, it doesn’t mean their opinion is not valid. I would challenge you to consider what they have to say. Is there any merit to it? There may be. Maybe not. But let’s be careful to not be defensive. You never grow and improve that way.
Consider the Advice. Take some time to consider what the other person is saying. Seriously consider it. Especially if they are asking you to make a big change. You may initially balk at it, but there may be a good reason for the big change or maybe there may be smaller changes that can be made to improve your craft.
What does all of this amount to? Well…there is a story here. I was recently at a writers conference. And I had the opportunity to meet with a mentor. I had planned on doing a mock pitch to get feedback, but when she sat down, she started asking me questions about where I was in my career. Through those questions, she discovered what I already knew – that I was kind of weak in the area of marketing myself.
Well, why was that? I’ll share with you. I blog, tweet, and post to writers for the most part. But my audience (that I write for) is not necessarily writers. That is not really the audience I am hoping to attract. So, there is a problem. Not that it’s wrong for me to encourage other writers, but I need to also reach out to my target audience. So, I need to consider what that will entail and rethink my whole marketing strategy.
It’s generally a good thing to re-evaluate your marketing strategy periodically anyway. What is working? Why is that working? What isn’t working? What can you do to fix that?
What about you? Ever get advice that made you re-evaluate something you were doing?