The Art of Giving Feedback

7 03 2014

Right: I felt that this piece was very honest. There were a few moments where I felt like the author wasn’t looking on the other side, though.

Wrong: This piece has the illusion of authenticity and honesty.

Someone told me in class today that my person essay had “the illusion of authenticity”, which probably wasn’t the most tactful and useful way to phrase what I think she meant. So for all you out there wondering how to give feedback, be very careful. Hey, maybe I should make a guide and blog about that, especially since I have nothing else to write about these days.

Finishing a personal essay

23 02 2014

Well, first of all, writing a personal essay is difficult. More difficult than writing an academic essay, by far. Yes, I love writing creative non-fiction, and yes, I do enjoy writing personal essays, but man, it’s tiring and mentally exhausting and can be veeeeerrryy loooooooong. Sometimes that works to my advantage because I often tend to write a lot, but that makes editing difficult too. This essay turned out to be just over 4,000 words, which I think is the longest personal essay I’ve written so far. Definitely the longest in the class so far.

But when you finish writing it — oh, such relief. Well, it’s more like resignation, but after an hour or two, you really realize that you accomplished a pretty big feat, and yeah, I deserve props and acknowledgement for that. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to watch the new season of The Amazing Race with my mommy and tell her what I accomplished today.


Let Go revisions/re-writes

7 04 2013

Since people seem to like when I post my drafts of poems and songs, I thought I’d post a few pictures of the re-write/revision process. These last re-writes have been really difficult especially to incorporate all my classmates’ feedback. As I learned, it’s one thing to know what you need to work on. It’s another to actually try and fix it.

With this song, the revisions were really difficult to do. I knew what I wanted to convey, but I got so caught up in images and showing rather than telling that it locked me out of writing anything for a long time. Eventually, I finished it, but there are still lines in the revision that I don’t like very much, and in some ways, I almost prefer the previous draft because I feel it flowed better.

Anyway, I wrote down everyone’s feedback onto one sheet and looked through them all that way, which seems to work for my revision process. Here are all my messy notes, scribbles, and questions for a song called “Let Go”. Front and back pages.

Let Go revisions

Let Go revisions2

It works!

23 10 2012

Today, we workshopped my second-person creative non-fiction piece in class.  I was excited yet a bit unsure because, as I noted in my last post about my project, stuff written in the second-person can be tricky to pull off successfully.  Instinctively, I knew what I wrote worked, but in my rational, I’m-not-a-good-writer mind, I had doubts.  So when the first comments from everyone today were all positive, that it was a powerful, “awesome” (I got a lot of those) piece, I gave a sigh (which made a few people look at me strangely).  But it was a sigh of relief!  Oh, how good validation feels, when people appreciate your work.  I haven’t felt that in a while.

Needless to say, after workshopping my piece, I was motivated to edit and re-write after the meaningful feedback, which is always the goal of a good workshopping session.  I guess after getting everyone’s comments, I had the thought that I might actually be able to make it as a writer after all.

But we shall see (that’s my I’m-not-a-good-writer mind speaking).

The other ones

10 03 2012

I attended a reading for seniors who had taken a creative non-fiction/memoir writing workshop from the cool Ivan E. Coyote earlier this month.  There were a number of very interesting selections from people, and I actually didn’t expect some of them to be so heavy and full of emotions.  There was one in particular that made me think, and I’m not sure in a good way or bad.

A woman was telling her story about a guy her friend had met randomly one day.  Her friend then brought him over one day so the three of them could all hang out.  This woman then recalled how she basically fell in love at first sight with this guy, which wouldn’t seem so bad if 1. she didn’t already have a boyfriend, and 2. her friend was interested first in this guy.  The entire story was romantic and almost fairytale-like; the two of them eventually got together and ended up getting married.  The End.

All I could think about while she read this story to the audience was, “What about her boyfriend?  What about her friend?  Doesn’t anyone care about them?”  I couldn’t but feel like in some way, her boyfriend got screwed over, that his feelings weren’t considered as she gushed on and on about this handsome prince who had come into her life.  In some ways, I feel like that guy– neglected, expendable, replaceable for something better, not worth noting.  The one whose feelings aren’t considered.