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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Feedback Can Cause or Cure Writer’s Block


As I mentioned in my previous post, feedback can be dangerous. Without direction, feedback can become veiled (and sometimes not so veiled) criticism and judgment that slams the brakes on your writing. Even well-meaning praise can block you.

We need feedback to know where our writing is working and where it isn’t, but we need to be sure we get the right kind of feedback from the right people.

The Right People

Start with other writers and people who read extensively in your genre. You have a much better chance of getting what you need when you ask people who “get” your style of writing and know how to respond to writing while it’s being developed.

Enlist people who also are willing and capable of being a good ally because they are:

  • Trustworthy
  • Honest
  • Emotionally intelligent
  • Committed to developing their own writing (or other form of creativity)
  • Willing to be reciprocal so that you don’t have to feel overly dependent or that you’re asking too much.

It’s a good idea to clearly define how you’ll support each other in advance to make sure you have a common vision of how many pages will you read, how frequently, how quickly and extensively you’ll respond, etc. You might also enlist each other’s help in setting and holding yourself accountable to goals and sharing other forms of writerly support.

The Right Kind of Feedback

You have the right and the responsibility to ask for the kind of feedback you need and you’ll need different kinds of feedback for different pieces of writing.

To read my article identifying seven levels of feedback (originally published in The Writer’s Connection), open this Word file: If You Don’t Get What You Want: Tips for Getting the Feedback You Need

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