by thea marie
An ineffective introduction can inhibit the quantity and quality of feedback recieved.
Suffering from a prolonged bout of writer’s block, which kept me off the site for a few months, I decided I'd use the lull in creativity to review the work of my fellow writers. I hoped in doing so that I could help someone else, and maybe catch a spark to light my own rockets, and get myself back on course. However, as I searched for interesting material to read, I ran across something I found disturbing: self-deprecating introductions.
Several cleverly titled pieces captured my attention, but the brief introductions which followed would cause me to click past them. “Not very good, but please read anyway”, or “My first poem, so it’s not very good”, do not invite me to take a look. In fact the result is quite often the opposite. I go right past, thinking, “If you don’t think very much of it, why should I waste my time?”
Although the purpose of posting is to share and to receive constructive criticism, what is put up for review should reflect the writer’s best ability at the moment of publication. It shouldn’t be necessary to warn the reader of shortcomings. In other words, if the writer doesn’t think much of it and says as much, why should anyone else bother with it?
I also can’t help but feel that in some cases this is a roundabout way to solicit praise: “Oh, this isn’t so bad” or “Why do you think so little of your work?” Again, this doesn’t work with me, as I often don’t bother to read that which the writer advertises as sub par.
In short, the introduction's purpose should be to give the reader some idea of what the piece is about. Just as one probably wouldn’t write, “This is the greatest thing you’ll ever read”, I feel that it defeats everything when a writer puts his or her own work down before giving others the chance to evaluate it for themselves.
Write well, proofread, edit, revise, and rewrite carefully. Then post with pride, and leave the judgments to more objective eyes.