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The Fine Art of Peer Reviews

peertopeer1As you develop your writing skills and step out into the world on the road to becoming published, joining groups of like minded people can be a boon to your efforts as you exchange ideas, have your works reviewed and find places where you can improve or impart what you’ve learned.

But that is also where things can go awry.

Different authors have different methods of how they go about doing things. Some, follow well established and documented methodologies that have brought them success and consistency while others may be just starting out and getting their feet wet as they try to learn the ropes and find their own way into what they hope will be a marketplace that will welcome them with open arms.

Giving advice can be a tenuous adventure in and of itself and will undoubtedly bring with peer-editing1it much angst and probable derision where others either disagree completely or try to pick apart what you may have been trying to say.

While there may be good intentions all around, there needs to be a clarity of sorts that advice and opinions are just that – opinions.

Each of us has a background of sorts in reading the products that got us interested in writing. We find nuances to what we read and without even thinking file them away in the back of our minds for future use or reference.

At some point you begin to revisit and apply these nuggets as you script your own works and when you find an opportunity you will try to share what little it is that you know.tutoring

In a one on one situation this can go fairly well, where you craft your suggestion politely while you gauge the recipient who in turn will more than likely be just as polite as they either take the advice and tuck it away or shuck it off into the ditch.

The bigger problem can come as you move into an open group where the same transaction can be openly questioned as others find that they disagree or find little use for the advise.

What happens then, is often a mixed bag of conversation and argument that causes the original message to become lost and any hope that what may have once been helpful will now have become lost.

The important thing to learn when this happens is that it may be best to have some sort of defense of your opinion ready just to show that you didn’t pick your opinion out of thin air. You just need to be cautious as you will find others simply will want to dismiss your opinion no matter what.

There are people out there that just have to be right and can’t let things go until they are shown to be. It’s been my experience that the best way to deal with them is to simply say: “Respectfully, we will have to agree to disagree as we each seem to have a well founded idea of what it is that we are trying to say and neither of us appears to be wrong.”

This simply makes it very clear that there are no right or wrong opinions — just varying levels of understanding and respect.

And it will probably drive them completely nuts, but you are now off the hook and can smile and walk away.

In the end, my advice is if you feel that your opinion is worth giving and you’ve worked to be as polite as you can be and forthcoming as to how you came to have that opinion, simply let the naysayers know that your not willing to back down and that you are more than ready to agree to disagree with their method of derailing what otherwise may have been a helpful moment.

Kindness goes a long way and when your polite your less likely to become muddled in an argument that there may be little to learn from in and of itself.

Well that or simply send your advice to the author in question privately when you know there are others who will not agree with it within earshot.paperairplane1

Sometimes that can unfortunately work the best for those with peers who steadfastly refuse to see opinions for that which they are.

Simply opinions, neither right nor wrong, but something well worth a consideration.


Published inAuthorTips and Tricks
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