As a journalist, I’m too used to say, “Feel free to give any comment,” or, “Any feedback is much appreciated!”
Sometimes I really do mean it, sometimes it is just a courtesy. You know, you’re just a rookie, a new kid on the block, why don’t just look nice and put that I-am-eager-to-learn-and-to-become-better attitude up front?
But not everyone likes feedback.
I, for one, hates it.
Of course I love positive feedback. It boosts my ego and my confidence for someone to actually say, “Hey, your writing’s improved, well done, Marcella!” and you feel that you are actually on the right track. Like, what’s the point of keep on learning something if you’re not getting better at it? It’s as simple as that.
But the negative feedback, oh, it’s the worse.
You know, especially when you have put so much effort and energy and you feel like you’ve done a decent job, it sucks.
I know that feedback should be both positive and negative, feedback is there for you to improve, to become better, better, and yet better. But gee, does anyone ever tell you that the process is painful? It may shatter you, it may shatter your dreams, it may make you lose your confidence in what you think you’re good at, and simply put, it’s like someone says to your face, “Wake up girl, you don’t have any talent in this area.”
Of course, the feedback giver doesn’t really want to say that you don’t have any talent (maybe she does), but perhaps she just wants to go that extra step to actually tell you that you’re going the wrong way. Red alert, you need to write better!
So what actually happened?
I submitted a 500 news story draft toward my tutor, who happens to be my lecturer as well, and she gave me the nicest feedback ever.
“I am asking why this will interest me, Marcella.”
“Where is the point of difference?”
“Ask yourself why the reader would want to read on.”
I would really like to answer because I wrote it, duh, but it wouldn’t sell either.
So now I know that I’ve written a crappy piece, and I have one week to turn that negative impression of hers to be a positive one. Do I take this challenge? Hell yeah I do, because seriously, do you think I have any other option?
But she also said this, “A writer never apologises for what she’s writing. She just gets better.”
I’m not sure if I’m a ‘woman enough’ to actually take that statement to heart.
And suddenly my iPod plays the soundtrack of Men of Honour, the song Win by Brian McKnight.
So does it mean that I shouldn’t give up?
Well, I can’t really give up now, can I? (After all the rejection letters, the modified stories, the tutor-hates-your-article incident, the hours of editing, editing, and yet more editing, the days spent on reading news, studying Twitter, and textbooks…)
Feedback is not my cup of tea, but maybe I can start with making it my cup of coffee (because literally, I drink green tea everyday, and drink coffee once a week).
And maybe one day, I can see feedback not as a red card to kick me out of the game, but as a ladder to help me climb up to where I’m supposed to be.