Title: The Five Phases Of Feedback Word Count: 785 Summary: You may have heard about the five p hases of grief. Psychological profe ssionals have outlined the pattern of emotions that humans cycle throu gh during the grieving process. As a writing professional, I’ve discov ered the five phases of receiving f eedback. Any writer who is advancin g in their career has been through the sometimes shocking experience o f having her work critiqued. Cyclin g through these five feedback phase s is normal. Getting stuck in any o f them, however, could br... Keywords: writing,feedback,revision,success,c oach,writer,critique Article Body: You may have heard about the five p hases of grief. Psychological profe ssionals have outlined the pattern of emotions that humans cycle throu gh during the grieving process. As a writing professional, I’ve discov ered the five phases of receiving f eedback. Any writer who is advancin g in their career has been through the sometimes shocking experience o f having her work critiqued. Cyclin g through these five feedback phase s is normal. Getting stuck in any o f them, however, could bring your w riting career to a painful halt. Se e if you recognize yourself at any of these phases: Denial. Defensiveness sets in. How could they say that about your char acter? Can’t they see how perfect s he is? You go home and rant to your spouse about how clueless your cri tique group is. You shore up a line of defense and tick the points off on your fingers while your beloved nods and smiles. Depression. What? Your draft isn’t perfect? After all that work… you r ealize that your blossoming talent doesn’t hold up without some prunin g. You may hole up for weeks, or mo nths, in this phase, daunted by the real work of writing: revision. Yo ur balm: forays to the library and to read all those other successes. Integration. You’re still alive, an d is that a glimmer of desire to ha ve another look at your manuscript? Take a deep breath and look clearl y at the comments you received. Whi ch feedback can be integrated and w hat needs to be chucked? Enthusiasm. Okay, you know what to do now. You’ve found some grace and you’ve taken the criticism. Outlin ing a plan for revision, you’re rea dy to go. You’re over the worst of it. You’re even kind of excited abo ut it. You can write a bestseller! Acceptance. You move into work mode and start working through the deta ils. You realize that writing is suitabl e work for those who can handle the long haul. You recommit to the wor k of being a writer. There’s a lot to do, but with support you can wri te this thing! To move through the five phases mor e effectively, here are some tried and true methods that I have used w ith my coaching clients. To handle the denial, ask yourself this simple question: “What’s true about this feedback?” Take a step b ack from the work and be as objecti ve as you can. Is it true that ther e is a lot of exposition in your no vel? Is it true that your character s don’t seem developed enough? Maki ng this kind of assessment strength ens your skills as a writer. Taking your work apart, piece by piece, w ill allow you to delve into the cra ft of writing. For the overwhelming emotions that drive you to hide under the covers, try giving yourself an acknowledgm ent. This simple coaching tool can help you to recognize your progress , and what you have done right. An acknowledgment could look like this : “You gave the draft as much as yo u could when you wrote it. Look at how far you have come since you sai d you wanted to write.” Working thr ough the emotions goes more quickly if you are able to talk them out w ith a compassionate listener. Call up your writing buddy or coach and give space to the feelings tha t without expression might keep you trapped for months. When you get to the integration pha se, give yourself a pat on the back . You’re maturing as a writer. Real izing that writing is more than the first flush of inspiration is a po werful step toward success. Give yo urself a better chance at success b y outlining a plan, creating a sche dule, and sticking to the work of r evision. Enthusiasm is the fun part of the p rocess. Here you reconnect with som e of the original passion for the p iece, but with the added commitment and knowledge that you are willing to show up to make your writing sh ine. In the final phase, the flare and s park of enthusiasm settles into a w arm, steady fire. You are fueled by the respect you h ave for yourself for sticking with it, for your love of writing, for y our admiration for others who have done this work and triumphed. If you do find yourself stuck, if g etting feedback has stopped you col d, get help. Meet with a writing bu ddy to talk out the feedback. Talk long walks and ponder your commitme nt to the work. What drives you to keep going despite the challenges? Understanding your motivation to wr ite, and to write that particular p iece, will help you to move through the five phases of feedback more q uickly. Receiving feedback graceful ly is part of any writer's process, so make it work for you!
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