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Tough Love or Just Being Mean?

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Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:47 am
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LadySpark says...

“'But I’m just being honest!'
That’s right. You are just being honest. You are not being compassionate, or considerate, or thoughtful, or loving, or polite, or even pleasant. Just. Honest.
There are times when someone has to deliver an unpleasant truth. There may even be times when that person is the “just being honest” fanatic. But so much more often, unvarnished honesty is unnecessary, unkind, and unwarranted, and a little thought put into the delivery of the message would go such a long way toward making it valuable and constructive feedback rather than a shattering blow that can only be forgiven, not forgotten.”

Sometimes when you're reviewing, it's hard to keep why you're reviewing in perspective. We review to educate and help the writer become better. We're not here to tear them down unnecessarily or be 'honest' just to be 'honest'. There is a line that too often we cross with too much ease. When we're reviewing a piece we dislike, or that we see as 'bad', we're more likely to be short and mean just because we feel these author's deserve some 'tough love'.

Tough love is not the same thing as being mean. Your reviews should still be trying to teach the writer something. If you spend your days tearing someone down, you're never going to get better as a reviewer or as a writer yourself. Reviews are wonderful, because not only do they teach someone else something, but often they teach you something as well!

What's the difference of being mean and being constructive you ask?
For example, if you say something like "you did this wrong."
Instead of "This isn't right, but here's how to fix *x*".
The former doesn't help the writer at all. You're not telling them how to fix something, you're just telling them they're wrong. The latter says the same thing, but it still teaches the writer how to fix what's going on in their story/poem/essay/ what have you. If you switch out your 'wrongs' for 'this is how you fix it', not only will that writer have a chance of getting better, but you will too!

When you're reviewing, make it your goal,
Construct, educate, and teach yourself something as well.
hush, my sweet
these tornadoes are for you

-Richard Siken

Formerly SparkToFlame

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Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:43 am
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birk says...

Awesome input, Prok.

Spark, lovely post. <3
"I never saved anything for the swim back."

Do not mistake coincidence for fate. - Mr Eko

they're selling razor blades and mirrors in the street

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Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:35 pm
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Lightsong says...

This is very true. I hope I can be a review like what you've wanted.
"Writing, though, belongs first to the writer, and then to the reader, to the world.

The subject is a catalyst, a character, but our responsibility is, has to be, to the work."

- David L. Ulin

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Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:02 pm
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TimmyJake says...

Wonderful article, Sparkles.

If we're going to tear someone's work apart, it's our job as a reviewer to show them how to piece it back together. Sometimes we all need to be reminded of that. Thank you.
Used to be tIMMYjAKE

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Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:24 pm
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Rin321 says...

Great! Very useful for some people!
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I am a funtastic awesome writer-
what are you?

You are an awesome writer as well-that is what you are

:superman: :superman: :superman: :superman: :superman: :superman: :superman: :superman:

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Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:04 am
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Stormcrow says...

This whole article is wrong. Ever bit. Im just being honest.
Caleb Julius

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Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:11 pm
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erilea says...

Um, Stormcrow? ...
Was *wisegirl22*Artemis28*Lupa22*

focus on... enjoying happy moments

To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.
— Allen Ginsberg