Adventurer and journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane (born May 5, 1864, and better known by her pen name Nellie Bly), even faked craziness in the late 1800s to get herself admitted to an insane asylum to research a story on mental institutions.
She broke all kinds of journalistic barriers back then, just by being a woman. Unbelievably, women journalists still face gender-related obstacles more than a hundred years later. But this post isn’t about that.
This post is about what writers, crazy or not, love to hear about their writing. We jump for joy (or at least I do) when people read our stuff, though we’d probably write it anyway, whether anyone else read it or not. Writers are compelled to write. Some, like me, don’t even like to write. Sadly, or happily (depending on when you ask us), we must write. We have no choice in the love/hate relationship we have with our craft/art/work/play.
In fact, for me, the best part about writing is being finished. Blank pages (as well as blank computer screens) make me extremely twitchy. I’d much rather dive into a page full of content and EDIT! Editing is something I can really sink my teeth into – it’s great fun. Writing? Not so much.
Most writers, whether they enjoy writing or not, like to get feedback on their work. Feedback and comments give us new ideas and new perspectives; they help us polish and improve and… (GET TO THE POINT SUSAN! GET TO THE POINT!)
Right. As I was saying, here are the Top 10 comments writers love to hear about their work:
10) I loved it! You’re such a great writer.
9) The things and places you talked about just seemed so “real.” I could picture it all in my head…
8) I really liked the part about… (fill in the blank), because… (fill in the blank).
7) As I read, I felt like you were talking directly to me. It was like you were inside my head/heart.
6) When I read the part about…. (fill in the blank), I started to…. (fill in the blank: e.g.: laugh/cry/shake/shiver/dance/read faster/read slower/wonder/think), because… (fill in the blank).
5) When I read the part about…. (fill in the blank), I felt…. (fill in the blank: e.g.: sad/happy/joyful/afraid/inspired/lucky/embarrassed/full/empty/small/big/), because…(fill in the blank).
4) I was at the end of the page and onto the next before I realized it. Your writing just flows…
3) I couldn’t put it down. I had to read it through to the end.
2) I can’t wait to read your next…. (fill in the blank; e.g.: sentence/paragraph/article/blog post/book)!
1) I wish I had written it myself. (From anyone, but particularly appreciated from a fellow writer whom the author respects – someone like Carolyn Theriault, for example, author of Stealing Fatima’s Hand.)
Three of the best comments I’ve received to date (prompted by this piece):
“I want to share this piece by my Amazing Friend Amazing Susan Macaulay. She´s the only person I read who can make me laugh, snort milk through my nose, and weep unabashedly within sentences of each other. Follow her blog and buy her book when the momentous time comes ♥♥♥”
“It made me want to read on–each piece a whole story in itself. It was like a great introduction…”
“I don’t know how to say in writerly terms but I liked that somehow it was very intimate and and full of self humour…”
Are you a writer? What kind of feedback do you like to get? What is the best comment you’ve ever received about your writing?
Kiss a writer today! Just for the crazy literary fun of it.
Note: This post was inspired by an early morning conversation with my good friend and cheerleader Elaine Kinney who facilitates awesome retreats for people who want to gain personal insight and explore new perspectives.