Are You Getting Helpful Feedback?

10 Mar

003The second full week of March and we’ve all, hopefully, turned the corner on winter.  Spring is staring us in the face, and with spring comes hope for longer days, warmer days, and perhaps new beginnings.

How are you this week?  I’m fat and sassy, thank you very much.  We are enjoying ridiculously beautiful weather.  I’m sure it will come to an end so I’m soaking up as much sun as possible and storing it for the spring rains that will surely come.

You’ll laugh at this piece of news: I’m still not done with “Shadows Kill.”  I thought I was but the ending is still leaving me wanting more, so back to the drawing board this week.  No biggie; it’s all part of the process.  The book will be done when it is done and not a moment before.  When I finish this book I want it to be my best writing to date, and I’ll feel the same way when I finish the next book, and the one after that.

And the most wonderful thing happened to me Sunday……I received a review on “Resurrecting Tobias” that was not a perfect five stars.  That review was a wonderful gift because I value honesty greatly, and I need to know that what I’m doing is not perfect.  The reviewer was right on with her summation….I can do better, and I will do better.

How about you?  Do you value honesty in critiques of your work?  Do you really want to know that your poop stinks at times?


General reader feedback is usually pretty worthless. 99% of people give feedback that is irrelevant, stupid, or just flat out wrong. But that 1% of people who give good feedback are invaluable.

Tucker Max
Now I can’t be as brutal about feedback as Tucker is, because I greatly appreciate any feedback I get about my writing, but I understand what he is saying.


Back in my teaching days, twice a year we would have parent/student/teacher conferences.  These were dreaded by many but I actually enjoyed them.  When I was holding a conference, I would make sure I did two things for every student: I would point out the good work they had done, and I would point out what they needed to improve. I owed them the most sincere and helpful feedback I could give them.


Are you getting “good feedback?”  I’m not talking about constant words of praise but rather about feedback that will help you grow as a writer?  If you  aren’t receiving that kind of feedback you need to go find someone who can give it to you….if being a better writer is your goal, of course.

Where do you find that feedback?  Different strokes for different folks.  I offer a service as a writing coach where I give constructive feedback of your writing…for a fee of course.  There are others who do it as well, or if you can find a trusted friend who is willing to be honest with you, then go that route.

I’m currently helping a fellow writer to write her first book.  It is an exciting process.  Slow-going for sure, and at times frustrating for her, but she trusts my suggestions and guidance, and she knows I want the best for her.  And I want the same for you!


That’s my way of saying I have to cut this one short.  I hope I’ve given you something to think about.  The bottom line is I want you all to grow in your craft, and that means receiving valuable feedback about your writing skills.

Have a super week and I’ll do the same.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

24 Responses to “Are You Getting Helpful Feedback?”

  1. AudreyHhowitt March 10, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

    I belong to a poetry group that hashes through the work presented–it really is valuable–and the people are kind, but direct–

    • Billybuc March 10, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

      I’m glad to hear that, Audrey. I think that kind of feedback is invaluable. Thanks for sharing that.

  2. Janine Huldie March 10, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    I belong to a few groups too who have helped to give me pointers on my writing from time to time now and so thankful for that, because it has helped me continually grow as a writer. Love that you, too are getting good feedback and as always just hope you week has been going good for you so far 😉

    • Billybuc March 10, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

      Thanks Janine. It comes as no surprise that you belong to those groups. Anyone who works as hard as you is looking to grow as a writer. Thank you!

    • ruby fuller (@ohshucks) March 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

      I would like to know the name of Audrey’s poetry group. The best feedback I ever received was yesterday in my Miss Ellie piece. It was from DJ. It blew me away. Have a great productive day….

  3. Shauna L Bowling March 10, 2015 at 8:30 pm #

    Bill, when I had a writing coach I valued his feedback. He was completely honest with me, giving me kudos when something struck his emotions and constructive criticism in areas I needed to improve. It was invaluable. Although I’ve had to opt out, we’re still in touch and he still gives me feedback. I trust him implicitly.

    We writers have friends and followers, but most will give us a stroke and nothing that will help us improve. I do, however, have a few writer friends who will email me and give their honest opinion. I can count them on one hand. However, I’m grateful that we have an open and honest relationship.

    Skating through life thinking your shit don’t stink is just ludicrous. I know my shit stinks from time to time. How else can you better yourself if you think everything you do produces roses?

    Great post, my friend.

    I’ve got an editing project I’m working on this week. I love editing, but it does a number on the eyes after a while. I decided to call it quits for today and come see what words of wisdom you have to offer on this fine Tuesday. Glad I did!

    • Billybuc March 10, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

      Sha, I understand completely. Naturally, the critique I was speaking about came from Cristen. I am finding her to be worth her weight in gold.

      As for editing, it is a pleasure to do but mighty tedious at times and it really is hard on the eyes. Whatever you are charging for that job, I’m sure it isn’t enough as far as your eyes are concerned. 🙂

      • Shauna L Bowling March 10, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

        We do what we do, Bill. I’ve raised my editing rates this year. I actually make more when I proofread than when I edit. I charge by the hour for proofreading and by the page for editing. It takes quite a bit of time, but at least I’m making money. Things are looking better for me this year!

        And, yeah, Cristen (Iris) is the bomb. She’s my business coach. I love her to death. She’s the real deal and gets me fired up. I attribute the increase in my business income to her. It’s nice to have someone on my side that I can brainstorm with and who holds me accountable without spanking my knuckles with a ruler if I falter a bit.

      • Billybuc March 10, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

        I’m so glad to hear Cristen is working out well for you, Sha. She is, indeed, the real deal, and as an added bonus, she is a good human being.

  4. denisewa58 March 10, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    I used to love parent-teacher conferences. My first four children were model students, and the teachers sung my praises. Then I had a child with emotional disabilities, and from then on, I was the most lousy parent, and I dreaded parent-teacher conferences! I even lost my temper at one because they were concerned about my daughters feelings of self-worth. I told them I would worry about her self-worth if they would worry about teaching her in such a way that she didn’t feel bad about herself!

    Enough of my soap box! I guess that is when I decided that I needed to go back to school and get a better education, so that I could help people with their children who have disabilities. Now, here I am, an office manager who writes articles on the Internet. Hmmm….there is something wrong with this picture, but I am working on it!

    • Billybuc March 10, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

      Denise, I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with that picture. We do what we have to do to get where we want to get….it’s the process and it is necessary. Thanks for sharing your story about your children. I love to hear personal stories that were meaningful.

  5. ruchira March 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    So far I have been getting quite a few -ve responses on my current m/s and that is totally fine, cause the script can still be worked upon so, it helps me take in a deep breath and continue working 🙂

    Did get quite a few minus side reviews on my previous published novel choices, which was mostly relevant to editing…lesson learnt was to hire a good editor 🙂

    Bill, I gout out to your editor, unfortunately she is busy with other projects, so i am back to square one.
    thanks once again for all that you do!

    • Billybuc March 10, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

      Thank you Ruchira. I’m sorry it didn’t work out with Jaye. I knew she was busy but was hoping she could find the time for you. Best wishes my friend.

    • Shauna L Bowling March 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

      Ruchira, I offer editing services as well. If you’d like to talk about it, email me at I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here, Bill!

  6. irisdraak March 11, 2015 at 1:29 am #

    First, I loved parent-teacher conferences. Even now that my son is a senior I love going and talking to his teachers. I like the ones like you that offer both the good and the “can improve by doing….”

    Second, obviously we feel the same way about constructive criticism. I have a friend here in Boise who loves me. And she’s a wicked editor. I mean brutal! I love it. Everyone needs those people. I feel like I get that from you too Bill. I’m very fortunate to have several people in my writing life that do that for me. I feel very supported.

    Next week I’ll go to my fist critique group through the writers guild I belong to. We’ll see if they can compete . 🙂

    And stop it both of you! I’m blushing.

    • Billybuc March 11, 2015 at 1:38 am #

      Whatever with the blushing thing. Get over it and let’s move on. I’ve got big plans for you, and they include me, so let’s keep moving forward.

  7. 1authorcygnetbrown March 11, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    The snow is finally gone here and my daughter and I are enjoying our spring break with shopping, watching the Dixie Stampede and going to the Titanic museum! I can’t wait to write about it all!

    I have had good feedback on my writing, and it has not always been as you say glowing. It is definitely a learning experience.

    • Billybuc March 11, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

      Donna, have a wonderful time with your daughter. I appreciate you taking the time to visit my site while on vacation. Go enjoy the snow-free land.

  8. pictimilitude March 15, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    I’m not the greatest feedback-er. I admit. I like to keep it positive and don’t much like giving criticism. I need to work on that. 🙂

    • Billybuc March 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

      Hey lil Sis! It’s not easy giving criticism….and giving it in such a way that it actually helps someone….so you’re not alone. 🙂 I’ll be by your site shortly…thank you!

  9. Michael Milec March 23, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

    My entry fits among those 99% feed -backers that are irrelevant , stupid or just… Simply , someone without publishing a single article can’t receive any, least a helpful feedback. Thus my friend letting you know, Michael was here, stealing your valuable time, tempting you to neglect nonsense contribution by not paying attention, so my learning will never stop…

    • Billybuc March 23, 2015 at 11:09 pm #

      Michael my friend, for me, your feedback will never be irrelevant. Just so you know. 🙂 Blessings my friend, and thanks always.

  10. phoenix2327 March 30, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Hi, Bill. Spring is making it’s way here too as evidence by the bluebells and tulips that are appearing. Glad to hear you’re well.

    I rely on my son for honest feedback. He doesn’t just tell me if a story is good but why it’s good. If it’s flawed, he explains where the deficiencies are, why they’re deficient and how it might be improved. He really gets what I’m looking for in a critique and he doesn’t hold back.

    BTW, I’ve been meaning to ask where I might find your fees for critiquing writing.

    Enjoy you’re little slice of heaven. Best wishes to you and yours.

    • Billybuc March 30, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

      Zulma, that son of yours is a keeper. All writers should have someone like that in our lives.

      The fees for critiquing are on my website

      Thanks for visiting me on this gorgeous spring day.

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