My Books!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feedback: How To Give It How To Get It

Welcome to my blog!  Today's guest is  Jo Sparkes who's written a wonderful book called Feedback and How to Give It How to Get It.  Jo's on a blog tour and is giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky commenter, so follow her tour and comment often. You can find her stops at Jo, it's a treat to have you.

1.Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm a writer and a teacher. A lot of my writing has been scripts, such as commercials and corporate videos, which is very different from writing books and articles. For those who don't work with it, every word is very valuable in a script. For an entire two house movie, a script is less than 120 pages these days – often less than 110. And of course, you can only write what is seen on the screen and heard on the speakers. There is no telling what a character is thinking, or spending pages on her childhood.

It's fun living within the restrictions. To me it's a puzzle, telling your story through actions.  And you certainly learn to be concise.

2.What motivated you to write this book?

Teaching one day, a student asked a heartfelt question. And I heard myself answering from the heart – one of those moments where you think, 'wow, that's good stuff.  I ought to write that down.'  So I did.

3.Do you have other, similar works?  What about novels, short stories, etc?

Most of what I've written is either scripts – intended to be made on video – or articles and pieces for others. This is my first book. Well, not counting the one I wrote in high school, “The Witch of Lackey High”.  And you won't find that one anywhere.
There is another subject I would dearly love to write about. I'll get to it, one of these days.

 4.What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when they’re trying to give feedback to others?
Intention is everything.

Is this someone you really care about, and you truly wish to help them? Is this an employee, and you want to point out something that will really help their work? Or is this someone you don't like, and you'd enjoy piling on after a mistake you think the person made?

If you come from a place of love for a child, of caring for a friend, of compassion for the same human frailties we all suffer, people see it on some level. They respond. 

 5.Have you ever been overwhelmed by feedback from another person?  If so, how did you handle it?
Oh my, yes. Many times.
For a very long time, I would run away and hide. Then the time came when running away meant giving up my dream career. Faced with that choice, I finally stopped running and began to deal with it. This method found by trail and error is really what the book is about.
That's half of it – dismantling the criticism to find the truths in it. The truths for YOU.

The other half is recognizing the importance of making mistakes. After all, if you're going to try new things, you'll make a few mistakes along the way. The bigger the new goal, the larger the mistakes that inevitably come.

The only way to avoid mistakes is to do nothing.  And that's the biggest mistake of them all.

6.Would you share your links with us?

7.We'd love to read an excerpt. 
Feedback … a kinder word for criticism, is an organic component to life.

When a toddler learns to walk, he falls. He screams, cries – and persists. What would happen to the human race if he gave up after a few bumps?

Before we could read self-help books, before we could understand a language and sit in a classroom, we learned by trial and error. “Feedback” is the natural teaching process. It’s how the creator set it up. It’s how the world actually works.

Here, at last, is a simple process for getting the most from all the feedback the world offers us.

For some reason it's easy to cling to criticism. To walk through the world telling yourself, “I can't act my way out of a paper bag,” or “my work is sloppy no matter what I do.”

     If you think about it, you probably can recall criticism you heard as a child. When I was eight-years-old, I overheard my father tell my mother I was lazy. To this day, if I'm not getting everything done as fast as I wish, if things are piling up on my desk, I can hear him saying, “she's lazy!”

     Clinging to criticism, to all the negative comments or snide remarks we've heard over the years, creates a very heavy burden. If you walk through the world so weighted down, you will inevitably slow and finally stop altogether from the sheer pressure.

     All you can humanly do is what we just did. Take in the information, analyze it, and decide what to do. There is nothing more to be done.

     It – the criticism – has served you. Now send it on its merry way.

Readers, Jo's giving away a $50 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky commenter.  Follow her blog tour and comment often for more chances to win.  Find her schedule at
“In her compact, wisdom-charged Feedback Jo Sparkes provides sharp, sharp, cogent, advice not only for writers but for all people who value creativity and seek to lead fulfilled, creative lives.
“This slender volume provides more bang for the buck than far longer, weightier tomes. It is a splendid resource to which writers will refer repeatedly.”
                               - Richard Walter  Chairman of Screenwriting, U.C.L.A.
“The lessons contained in “Feedback” are not for the writer who is merely looking for a compliment, but rather for those who are striving for accomplishment."
                                  Barton Green  Author, Screenwriter and long-time friend
Jo Sparks simplifies the feedback process in this concise easy to implement guide to giving and receiving feedback.  As an actress, I believe everyone can benefit from her experience, not just those in the industry.
                                        -        Tonetta Weaver, Actress


marybelle said...

A great post thank you. I find this book to be fascinating.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting Jo today.

MomJane said...

I that although sometimes feedback is difficult, if we never heard about the things we do incorrectly, we would never learn. Life is a continuous learning process and every comment, good and bad, helps us to learn a little more.

Jo said...

Thank you :)

And thanks, Elaine! I love being here.

elaine cantrell said...

I love having you!

Nora Weston said...

Interesting post! I think feedback is important and will always be part of life. It should be given with good intentions, and especially when children are involved...their self-esteem must not be crushed. I agree that once feedback is given, all you can do is learn what you can from it, and then move on. You are a wise woman, Jo! :)

Catherine Lee said...

WOW...Thanks for sharing. That must have have overheard your dad make that comment about you to your mom. It sounds like it still has an impact on you to this day.

Karen H in NC said...

Just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Enjoyed reading about your book.

Anonymous said...

The advice about what feedback to let go of (as well as retain) is something that doesn't get mentioned enough. I look forward to the book...


Gale Nelson said...

Thanks for the great interview and review. Gale