Critique feedback tips

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The TufFish Show with Jen Milius

So let’s talk about both giving feedback on another writer’s piece and receiving feedback from someone else on yours.

And to me the first place to start is with the definition of feedback - which is information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, which is used as a basis for improvement.

So with this definition – do you get a feeling that feedback is positive or negative?

If you perceive feedback as a way to enhance something you are working on such as your current work in progress – then you’ll be receptive to new ideas. You may even feel that you’re supported because someone else is contributing either information, skills, or support to the success of your book.

Yet the same can be said for the opposite; if you perceive feedback to be negative, then you’ll potentially feel a bit more on the defensive when you receive it, and possibility unsupported.

So the first thing to consider when receiving feedback is your perception and being willing to stay open. And if perceiving feedback as a positive exchange feels challenging, then take a baby step and aim for neutral.

What I mean by staying open and neutral - is detaching from the outcome.

That you are not your book, no matter how much you love it.

That you are not your business, even if it’s a personal brand.

That even if the information you receive is not what you expected or hoped for, you can decide if you let it get to you.

And that can be hard – especially if that information is difficult to hear.

The best thing you can do is remember that the person giving the feedback is coming their perspective only. So if it’s not making sense – get curious and ask questions.

You might find that there’s a communication misunderstanding.

You might find that it’s not the information that’s hard to hear, it’s the delivery.

But if you realize that the information or feedback you’ve received was well intentioned, then focus on the benefits that information can provide.

Another aspect of receiving feedback is that if we aren’t in the right head space, it can cause us to doubt what we’re doing.

Only you know what’s in your heart.

Only you have your vision, and no matter how much you believe it, are excited about it, communicate it, and take action to bring it to life – not everyone will get it.

So when you get feedback that feels like someone stuck a pin in your balloon, remember that their feedback was from their perspective. Look at it through your filter – your vision – and decide if there’s validity to it or not.

If you feel changes are needed, then make them.

If you feel that changes aren’t in line with your vision or direction, then be willing to stand by that. Regardless if you were excited about the feedback or not, graciously thank the person who gave it.

Even if you weren’t excited about the delivery or the actual information you received, consider that the person who gave you the feedback is engaged and cared to make a situation, product or result better.


Now with all of that being said, let me share some specific considerations I recommend when you are providing feedback or a critique on someone’s work:

#1 Remember that the person who submitted the piece does feel she did a good job to get it to the point where she wants to share, yet she might also feel vulnerable, so be gentle and kind as well as constructive.

#2 Identify several positive things you see and explain why you see them that way.

#3 For areas that need improvement, focus on the piece, not the person, and offer a solution for each improvement.

#4 When you point out a problem, the writer may already have an idea there’s an issue, but they may not have come through how to resolve it, so offer a possible solution.

#5 After you have offered your feedback once, let it go and detach from the outcome. Remember that ultimately it is the writer’s vision and piece, so it is her prerogative whether or not to incorporate your feedback.

#6 If you see the piece again and realize something you’ve suggested hasn’t changed and it is still bothering you, consider that you may not be this book’s ideal reader and that’s totally ok too.

#7 Thank the writer for sharing her work with you. It took courage for her to do so, and your gratitude shows your appreciation for her trusting her piece with you.


And on the flip side, here are my recommendations when you are receiving feedback or a critique on your work

#1 Remember that sharing your piece with one person or a group is courageous, so be proud of yourself for taking that step.

#2 Honor your intuition.

#3 If you know where you’d like specific feedback, let your critique/feedback partner or group know, so they can honor your needs.

#4 Take a break from your piece after you get feedback. You worked on your piece by showing up, sharing your work, and receiving feedback. The space will help you process what you received and determine your path forward.

#5 Trust that if you feel safe enough to share your piece with this person or group that they mean well.

#6 Shift your perspective about feedback and consider you have more information to work with to possibly strengthen your story.

#7 Get curious as you consider the feedback you received and see if there is a way to apply something that may have been hard to receive at first.

#8 Remember to say “Thank you” even if you had a hard time receiving the feedback. The person who provided it took her time to be of service to you and more than likely did her best to help.

#9 If you need a pep talk or some encouragement afterwards, ask someone you trust to be there for you like that.

I'm a big believer that if the story came to you, it must come through you. If you're in the middle of the first draft, keep writing. If you're in the middle of edits, keep refining. No matter where you are, but especially if you've hit publish, keep talking about and sharing your book and message.

Visit to see if this perfect for where you are now, and if yes, book a complimentary consult call and let's talk.


Your book, your message, your body of work is worth sharing, and YOU are the right person (and the only one) who can share it.

Keep writing and keep putting yourself out there because the people who need to hear your message the most are waiting for you. They are waiting for you to step up to your next level of genius, so they can have the impact they're meant to because YOU inspired them.