March 05, 2013

The Power of Positive Feedback

If you've read any of my other blog posts, then you know that I've struggled with my writing. Not long ago, I seriously considered giving it up altogether. 

But, enough of that (I hope). Time to say something positive about writing. Like what a FANTASTIC community writers make. I can't think of another group of people as encouraging, supportive, friendly, and inspiring as the community of writers out there in the cyber-world. 

Every time I've come close to hanging it up, someone out there pulled me back in. But here's the rub. You have to let people know you need help (see Amanda Palmer on the art of asking). You have to throw yourself out there and hope someone will grab your hand before you crash. 

On the very precipice of giving up, I put some of my writing out there. This was my way of asking for help. I joined WeWriWa, and without even knowing what they were doing, they grabbed my hand and pulled me up, up, up until I was flying with them. They made me feel like part of the gang, part of this awesome community. They made me feel like a writer. This is the power of positive feedback. But it's also the result of participating, sharing, giving, trusting others with your work (your heart and soul), and being trusted with their work. This is why it is essential to put your work out there, get it out of your head and into the world. Share it. Give it. Ask for feedback. Our strength so often lies in our vulnerability. And people will be there for you, if you let them.

In giving a little, risking a little, you get so much.

"There is a knack to flying. You must throw yourself at the ground and miss." - e.e. cummings

I'm not saying I've conquered self-doubt. But sometimes that poison in your head just needs to be lanced out, and you can't do that on your own, all by yourself, stuck in your toxin-bloated bubblehead where no one can hear you and you can't hear them. Once you let that poison leak out, you see that what felt like a grotesque boil is really just a little blister, and we've all been there. 

Sometimes you're the wound. And sometimes you're the bandage. So don't forget to return the favour. This is part of being a member of the community, you get help and you give help. Comment on someone's blog. Read and share other writers' posts. Congratulate those small (or big!) victories, and commiserate over small (or big) setbacks. Be a friend. You never know when a few words can bring someone back from the edge of giving up on themselves.

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