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Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive
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Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  16 reviews
All writers have stories of how some teacher, workshop participant, friend, or spouse gave them commentary that undermined their confidence and their writing. This “toxic feedback” has tainted feedback's reputation as a whole, causing too many writers to avoid or mismanage this valuable resource. In the first book to focus on this vital but delicate dynamic, Joni B. Cole a ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published July 31st 2006 by University Press of New England
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Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing

I have always thought of myself as "thicked skinned" when it comes to receiving feedback on my writing (and to be put more generally, life). And while it was easy to sort of brush off criticism, I never imagined there was a proactive way to manage that feedback (even that which I might have labeled as the worst or useless feedback) into improving my writing whether it was creative pieces or things I was assigned at work. This book has given me a whole new perspective, and even more importantly,
Rachel Brune
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have a (fetish? Addiction?) need for books about the writing process, and by writing process, I mean from blank page to publishing contract. I picked this book up both as a writer wanting to get more from the feedback I'm given, as well as some ideas of how to be a better critique-r. I found plenty of both, even after years of writing and being a member of some pretty awesome writing groups. There was not so much of the specific editing "how-to" (for that I recommend Bell's "The Artful Edit") ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Toxic Feedback was written by an author to authors about the whole feedback process. But it would be a great book for anyone giving or receiving feedback. Oh wait that's all of us.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part talks about receiving feedback, the second part talks about giving feedback and the third part talks about the mechanics of running a feedback group for writers.

Favorite quote: Almost every writer [body] has a story, some sad tale about how a teacher, fellow writer,
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was lent to me by a friend who took a class led by the writer. I don’t normally read a ton of books on writing but I’m glad I gave this one a shot. She is SO funny and relatable but still with such a unique voice. A must read for anyone invoked in critique.
Lisa Nanatovich-olney
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for writers, writing teaches and writing workshop groups.
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: about-writing
I have to admit, when I heard Joni Cole had asked Write Anything to review her book Toxic Feedback (University Press of New England, 2006)--an elemental discussion on how to give and take criticism, I was looking forward to reading it. I just finished the final edit of my current thriller ( is it ever really final in the writing world?), which meant I no longer had to submit to the well-intentioned-but-depressing opinions of my writer's group. They just don't understand how to provide positive c ...more
Janine Southard
Jan 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
B. Goodwin
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers and others
Joni B. Cole addresses neuroses and offers strategies for making a writing group work for you: “Be open…. Resist the urge to explain….Ignore feedback until you are ready for it….Try out the feedback….Give yourself time.” She makes feedback sound like a partnership, not a pecking order. Her suggestions give me room to breathe, grow, and ignore what does not work.

Cole’s writing sparkles with humor and honesty. She shows what works while celebrating growth she has seen, and the power of positive f
May 27, 2011 is currently reading it
Recommended to Heather by: Jodi Milner
This is actually a quick read (being a pretty short book) but it provides much food for thought & great discussion ideas to talk to my husband about.

So I'll probably be 'reading' this for a bit longer.
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The author was so humorous and self deprecating in a confident way that I felt like she was speaking directly to me. I found her tips so helpful, and I also found that I could relate to many of the thoughts and feelings she expressed.
Marie-pierre Stien
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
A useful, practical little book to help protect against the inevitable wounds of feedback. Wish I had read this earlier than I actually did.
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Excellent book about giving and receiving feedback--useful for life, not only writing.
Joni Cole
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Well I think it's a fantastic book that every writer, writing instructor, workshop member, or person who has ever had to send food back in a restaurant should read. But of course I'm a bit biased.
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. A great read to inspire confidence in giving and receiving feedback about writing.
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How is that skeleton typing? This looks pretty frightening. Perfect for Halloweeen! Can't wait to read it,
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Dec 07, 2012
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Apr 07, 2017
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Real life toxic feedback 1 9 Mar 04, 2009 09:15PM  

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Joni B. Cole is the author of the new release Good Naked: Reflections on How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier ("Joyful, tough-minded, and heartening, these pages offer encouragement to anyone from beginners to experienced writers. Good Naked is one of the best books for writers I’ve read in a very long time."—Cynthia Huntington, National Book Award Finalist, poetry). Joni's acclaimed fi ...more

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