Feedback and Courage

At times, I am amazed at the synchronicity in my life.

I am taking a class in Information Technology Project Management, and one of the research topics was Extreme Programming (XP). This is not the place to discuss Extreme Programming, but one source I found listed five values:
Communication
Simplicity
Feedback
Courage
Respect
And whether or not I ever utilize XP in my work life, or I believe that values are a component of a programming process, the concept of connecting feedback and courage as values is interesting. Feedback from your product, from your colleagues, from your boss or your teacher.

Courage and feedback

And it is also that time of year when my organization conducts its annual performance review. Splattered all over the elevator lobby are posters proclaiming the necessity for clear and candid feedback.

And in my creative life I continually have a problem with putting my words out there, to show my creative constructs, the story. What if my prose is trite, my concepts inane, my characters one dimensional?

And when I’m worried about feedback I have at least three different tactics.
I can “Ostrich” it. Put my head in the ground, and ignore it. Not smart, and not productive.
Or, I can avoid it, and not show the product to anyone. Also counterproductive.

Or the third way. Show it, with fear and trembling, and with courage.

Synchronicity is telling me to that it takes courage to face feedback. It takes courage to throw out work when I’ve poured myself into it.

How do you handle that fear of feedback?

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  1. Whenever I get feedback from my editors and critique partners, I have a knot in my stomach. I take a few breaths and open the file and then take a few more calming breaths when I see the amount of comments and corrections. I force myself to read the comments then I close the file and let it sink in. If there are major edits, I’ll put the file aside for a day or two. Then I’ll chunk it out. For example, I’ll plan to tackle three chapters a day. That way I don’t feel so overwhelmed that I need to do everything at once. If these are line edits, then I do the easy edits first such as grammar, misspellings or word changes, and then tackle any story edits in the end. That way I feel like I’m accomplishing something instead of getting stuck on the hardest things and getting frustrated when I don’t make any progress. But it’s still so tough. Wine helps. 🙂