I have seen many come and go in our group, PENS and BRUSHES. Some left because they no longer wanted to write picture books, while others wrote at such a pace that pour group’s one-at-a-time turn-taking was not meeting their needs. But, to me, the saddest were the few who left because they were hurt by feedback or had an issue with one particular member.
Groups can do that to you if you let them. Groups can overwhelm with contradictory suggestions. But here’s the kicker: it’s mostly up to you.
I also decided that I don’t need stroking. Being kind is one thing, and I try to be. But it is not helpful to me when feedback consists of “I liked it.” What is helpful, in the rare case where no suggestion is made, is to know why. Good-bad-or indifferent, please tell me why. I will do the same in return.
And the final thing I have learned is that I benefit immensely from having to think about what works and what doesn’t in others’ stories. Giving feedback is at least as helpful as getting it.
Thank you, Group!