Reinforcement by Karen Fainges

As anyone who has studied depression and/or motivation will tell you, reinforcement, positive and negative, is a very powerful thing.

I started playing an online game that has people say “thanks” every time you help them. There’s even a little fairy bell tinkle. You would think it would get annoying after the 100th time, and it did, a little. I even turned it off, only to find myself turning it straight back on. It sounds dumb, but the constant positive reinforcement actually made the game more interesting.

So how does this work with writing? Well, one thing writers often suffer from is the “it’s never good enough” syndrome. The opposite, where they are convinced that it is perfect even when it isn’t, can also be true. So this is where feedback comes in. Writer’s groups, online forums, library sessions, the list goes on. I want to add one more option. Reading aloud to others. My daughter wanted to hear old family tales, so I told her some. Laughing, she said I should write them down. I did and then read them out to her again. She enjoyed them so much, she dragged a friend in to listen to them. The friend listened, asking the occasional question when she didn’t get an inside family joke and laughing her head off. That let me polish the stories for readers outside my family. Reading aloud to yourself is a great way to edit your work. Reading aloud to others – even better.

Give it a try and let me know how you go. Here’s my offering, remember reading it out loud is the best way to go. If you can manage an Aussie blue-collar NW NSW accent, all the better.


3 responses to “Reinforcement by Karen Fainges

  1. There is a columnist in the local paper whose writing is so convoluted that I can’t stand reading it. But read it aloud and it sounds great!

  2. Yeah, sometimes people write like they speak. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t unless it is actually read out loud.

  3. I always read it aloud too. Often, when I’m stuck, I find reading aloud helps me lead naturally on to what supposed to happens next.

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