Saturday, April 14, 2007

Getting Feedback

By Keith Fisher

When I was ten, I wanted a guitar for Christmas. Not just any instrument, but a Fender Stratocaster. Santa Claus compromised and gave me a Harmony Rocket. It’s a hollow-body, double pickup, electric guitar that never stays in tune.

It was the nineteen-sixties and Santa couldn’t afford an amp. Hence the reason for the hollow bodied guitar. Well, to make a long story short; my dad built me an amp. It was just a wooden box with a car radio speaker and an electronic circuit board.

I plugged into the amp and quickly discovered that I couldn’t face toward it with my guitar, or turn up the volume because the feedback would blow my family out of the house. I wonder if that was by design?

I never got a proper amp and I learned to love playing a 12-string acoustic that I purchased from a second hand store. As I once expressed my artistic desires in music, I now lose myself in the worlds of the characters I have created. In the effort of learning to write, I have acquired a taste for a different kind of feedback.

The feedback that writers get is a good thing. We learn better ways of writing and arousing the interest of our readers. We talk about how the loving brutality of the red pen can be so helpful. We ask our proofreaders to be brutal. Meanwhile we try to develop a thick skin and continue the process of honing our craft on our long climb to the summit of our righteous desires.

There are times however, when feedback can be like the noise from my amp. In our exuberance as readers, we want to be helpful, but we forget to remember to add the positive, along with the critical. People need to feel they’re improving or their effort seems futile.

In like manner, the recipients of the red pen sometimes forget to sift through the advice, gleaning the positive from it. We CAN be better writers, but it will take time and practice. We can help others by being sensitive when our friends have those weak and in the basement moods. In turn, they can help us through our low points. Together, we will become the writers we were meant to be by encouraging each other.

I want to thank all those who lift me. I am becoming a better writer and reaching my goals because of my mentors and friends. Positive feedback left in the comments trail of this blog have been helpful. I hope I have lifted you in the process.

Good luck in YOUR writing career.


Connie Hall said...

Keith - you are the one who lifts our group. Thanks for being there for us.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Do you still play the guitar?

Anonymous said...

When ever I can and for as long as my fingers will stand it. Actually, it is one of the things that takes a back seat to other things. I do pick it up now and then. I am trying to teach my daughter.

C. L. Beck said...

Nice job on this. I especially liked your line, "Together, we will become the writers we were meant to be by encouraging each other."