As writers we all want to know what people think of our work. Whether that be when we are performing at a spoken word or when we have written and published our books

“Receivers are not just passive absorbers of messages; they receive the message and respond to them. This response of a receiver to sender’s message is called Feedback”

Many of us always hope to hear something positive about what we are doing, and psychologically positive strokes are good for our ego and can spur us on to carry on creating.

However, is that fair on us that we may be getting (or seeking) positive feedback telling us we are great but in reality, we may be going the wrong way, or we are not making improvements, so our previously fresh work becomes stale or samey.

the answer is choosing who we get our feedback from.

if we ask our friends and family directly “what did you think of that” you are most likely (but not always) going to get a variation on how great it is even if there are glaring improvements to be made. The feedback can be very subjective.

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To go off at a tangent for a moment, when a microphone and a speaker end up repeating each other, then the screaming is intense and very off putting which is just like receiving poor ‘feedback’

When giving or receiving feedback, the three things that I find useful are

  1. Why it helps you/ me
  2. How to do it
  3. How to feel confident about doing it

Feedback is not about criticism but about being critical. It is the piece of work or performance being looked at.

Below is some feedback I have been given by a fellow poet for my new book.

How giving feedback to others helps you

They get to hear what’s working already, so they learn about their strengths. They also get your suggestions for how to change it, and so they can improve that poem. Over time, they can use this feedback to develop their skills and knowledge.

Every time you do this, you also help your own writing.

You can learn as much from giving feedback as you can from receiving it. When you give detailed feedback, it means not only that you’ve engaged with a poem deeply, but also that you’ve thought about many ways in which the poem might be improved.

For example, when commenting on a poem, you might think about:

  • How do you feel about the poem?
  • What is the overall meaning of the poem?
  • Are there parts where too much is being said?
  • How well is the poem structured?
  • What about the line breaks and sentence rhythms?
  • Are there parts you don’t understand?
  • Are the images and word choices fresh, exact, exciting?
  • Does the voice sound authentic?

It’s really good to practice all that, and it will help you apply it to your own poems later. When you look at our own poems, you tend to see what you think is there—even when it isn’t!

  • You have an idea of what you wanted to say, and you probably believe you’ve conveyed it—when in fact your reader may be utterly confused!
  • Or, you may have said what you wanted to say many times more than you needed to, and the poem needs a lot of cutting!

Both of these problems, and others, are hard for you to see—that’s why getting feedback is so helpful.

But what can you do when you want to redraft a poem and feedback isn’t available?

At moments like that, the time you’ve put into other people’s poems will come to your aid.

The more you’ve looked with clear eyes at the poems of others, the easier it becomes (though it is still always hard) to apply the same objectivity to your own poems.

  • You may see yourself making the same errors you’ve seen in a dozen other poems—so you can correct them
  • You may also see yourself getting things right—which is always pleasant to feel!
  • You may even be able to imagine yourself reading your poem as if it were someone else’s, and hear what feedback you’d give yourself at a writers’ group!

So, by helping others, you’re learning a lot more about helping yourself.

  • You may read someone else’s work using a form or technique that’s new to you and feel inspired to try it yourself.
  • The success of a really good poem may fire you up to try do as well or better, which is useful motivation!

How to give feedback to another poet

Everyone likes to hear some reassurance to begin with! So, find something you like in the draft and tell the writer what it was and why you liked it.

While it can be nice to hear “This is great!” or “I loved this!”, feedback that only says that doesn’t help a poet improve their work. Find something specific that you like in the piece – an image, an imaginative word choice. Tell the author what it was and why you liked it. Then they have a good idea how they can repeat their success in another poem.

After you’ve praised, you can move on to parts of the poem that you think need more work. Again, be as specific as you can, and also say why something isn’t working for you. This gives them insight they can use to redraft their work. If you can think of suggestions for what else they could do, then throw those in too! At the end, remember that the writer took a risk sharing this poem with you, and that deserves respect. So, finish off with some wholehearted appreciation, telling them how you are glad they shared, and why.

To summarise,

  1. Tell someone something you liked about their piece of work
  2. Offer any thoughts of things that might improve it from a reader’s point of view
  3. Share the overall positive thing you gained from that person sharing the piece

How to get confident about giving feedback

If you’ve never given feedback before, you don’t have to start with a long comment! Just give a brief Praise Sandwich. You can build it up as you learn more.

Whilst you can make suggestions for how the poet might redraft their work, you can just say what you liked and what worked less well for you. When you get more experienced you can add more detail, but don’t start that way.

Giving feedback is a skill that gets stronger with practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. So, take as many opportunities as you can!

I acknowledge that I used some of the text from this blog on feedback which I have found useful for feedback to colleagues in our writer’s circle,this%20poem%20with%20you%2C%20and%20that%20deserves%20respect.

Bity Booker

Hi all,

Just a quick blog about a performer I watched on Thursday.

Prior to the pandemic I used to go to the Music and Words Club in Windsor where (as per the name) there were performers who wrote and performed their own music, songs, poetry etc.

Thankfully it has returned and have been a couple of of times.

I have been fortunate to be invited to have been featured a few times on the bill and also as a guest performer.

This time the featured artist was Bity Booker and like every featured artist it is usually a great experience.

I hadn’t heard of her before but saw that she had a presence on YouTube Twitter and Sound cloud.

When she started to sing I was amazed as she had a completely different sound to what I was expecting.

This was a good experience. The sound was ethereal and I tried to categorise what she reminded me of.

There was a Kate Bush element but also a folk feeling. But it just wasn’t just her voice, it was her stage presence that entranced and drew you in. She was singing for you!!!

I bought a cd but also checked out Spotify and listened multiple times on my journey to and from work.

I then listened/ watched YouTube just to complete the experience.

As a writer it has made me think and that is part of the work of a performer

Not only does Bity Booker orate her words, she also illustrates them.

I will allow you to judge for yourself.

Excuse Monkey

Photo by David Gonzales on


Been a while since I posted!!

I keep starting my blogs with this statement and I sound like the perennial ‘excuse monkey’

That sounds like an interesting thing to be and when this thought came into my head I decided to Google to see if such a thing existed?

It didn’t so I will now copyright that idea ©excuse monkey.

An excuse monkey will therefore be defined as a procrastinator who seems to have a monkey on their back and that is who they blame for not getting on with things.

However this isn’t why I started to write today.

I looked back on my last blog and have continued to write various pieces which I think I will put in my brand new, new book.

This isn’t a typo as I have new book which about to be published on Amazon (more about that later) but I will need to make a start on the next one.

Some more good news!!

  1. We have celebrated my daughter (and son in law’s) wedding.
  2. The local drama club have managed to perform their pantomime (late due to Covid 19)
  3. We have survived COVID 19 infections in various family members.

I am feeling less pessimistic which is helpful as it means that I feel able write a bit more.

The new writing group has continued to meet and we have had some more people join us. The tasks have challenged me (for the positive) so for one, I took a risk and wrote a rap based on marriage.

I am seen as a mid 50’s rock loving guy (well I admit to listening to other stuff too) but RAP music is not normally in my ‘wheelhouse’

My weird inspiration was, whilst listening to Spotify I heard Buddy Holly and then Eminem in succession. These are not the usual combinations I listen to but I then put some of the words on paper/ my phone.

I initially shared what was written a fortnight ago and then wrote more ideas based on the constructive thoughts/ feedback (not harsh criticism) received from my fellow writers.

I then performed this rap at the latest Spoken Word (The Innerverse) on Weds 29th and was given very positive feedback from the ‘experts.’ I plan to perform it again and this time I’ll do it much better!

Four weeks ago I took the plunge and delivered a workshop on Limerick Writing which stimulated others to write further limericks. Because of this I had to write a few new ones to share at The Innerverse. Again this was received very well. Nowadays I am being introduced as the “Limericks Expert” but I feel I have imposter syndrome about this but it is nice to know that I am able to share my knowledge/ skills to fellow writers.

I also spoke about contranyms  which I illustrated by this old joke I DIDN’T share at the above wedding.

“When a man doesn’t have a partner he is incomplete, when he gets one, he is FINISHED”

A contranym is a word that can have opposite meanings dependant on the circumstances.

“To dust can either mean to add or to remove dust”

As I mentioned before, I have put the final (well almost) touches to my latest book.

Two years ago, my son in law wished me a happy birthday with the words “Joetry in Motion” and used the throwaway comment, that would make a good title for a book.

Well that is what I have used, so thanks Lee Hall ( ) who is not the Lee Hall who wrote Billy Elliot.

I will publish the book over the next few weeks so keep a look out for notifications and hopefully you may want to purchase a copy.

Let’s see if I can keep up this effort and write something on this blog next week!!

Back Again


I just have not had the urge to write for ages. Well that is not strictly true, as I seem to be able to write a few poems and perform them at The Innerverse or at a new open mic that has opened up in my village.

I think what has happened is that the pandemic has robbed me of my urge or my routine to write every week.

I hope that now life is a little freer although I remain careful that my creativity will return.

Last night I attended a writers circle with a couple of people who I know.

it was newly set up and whilst there was only 5 of us, we shared a lot about our styles of writing, our influences and our likes and dislikes.

We all shared a piece of writing in progress and were offered praise and critique which in my case I found helpful.

We have a prompt for next time which I have started to put some words and feelings down on paper (well in my phone).

I have hopes that this will put me on an even keel again and I will be able to share my self to help others

The maxim you only get out what you put in applies as I like to feel useful as well as learning

Writing Again (part 1)

Hi all,

Sometimes you just have to get on with it when an ideas comes into your head.

I haven’t decided what kind of novel writer that I am because this is the first time that I have attempted to do so.

In my fantasy mind, I saw myself ‘splurging’ the words onto the page and all the ideas neatly forming paragraphs. I would then go back and edit.

The reality is that as I have written I have had so many ideas that I have had to stop and make a plan.

One tip I took on was to write the whole story in 100 words.

you then break the sentences up and write 100 words or so around each sentence.

I found that I could do some of this for some sentences and others just remained sentences.

I realised also that my story spanned decades with ‘flashbacks’ or explanations so I had to do a timeline whereby I worked out the age of each character at various parts of other characters lives. As wrote, I added to the timeline to ensure that I was able to ‘remind myself.’ I also have realised that I should have done ‘ biographies’ of each character which I could then use/ alter as I wrote.

Luckily this is informing me what sort of writer I am.

I am disorganised but am able to take myself by the ‘scruff of the neck’ and organise myself.

However you need to be able to have an initial outline of the story written down which you can then follow/ change as your book evolves. You should also keep a note of your influences (songs, tv programmes, pictures) so that you ensure that you are able to ‘describe’ the feelings they elicited for your writing. Some of my influences are songs I heard on the way to work which have ‘filled out’ the feelings of the characters’ or just formed part of the timeline of memories to describe the mood.

You need to remind yourself occasionally to check that some of the lyrics of the songs have not turned into chunks of dialogue to prevent plagiarising popular artists and getting yourself into trouble.

My immediate reflection so far is there is no formula for being a successful writer, or hard and fast rules. sometimes you may need to stop, take a deep breath and then review. you may be on the right track but retracing your writing steps may help you to find some beauty which got ignored as you rushed in.

So far 9 chapters named, an outline written, a timeline, idea for a cover. the book has 10,000 words which will be divided up again into the chapters.

When I have written a bit more I will share the title and the ‘blurb

Update for June


Haven’t communicated with you all for a while.

So I thought that I had better let you know what I have been up to.

At the beginning of the year, I promised to read a few books (4 books).

The first book that I have been reading a book about authoring and blogging on social media.

“Consistent Creative Content by Lee Hall”

I thoroughly recommend it to you and have given it a review and 5 stars on Amazon.

I enclose the link below so you can buy your own copy.

Consistent Creative Content: A Guide to Authoring and Blogging in the Social Media Age eBook: Hall, Lee : Kindle Store

Just to also update you what I have been doing for the past month. (May)

I was able to attend a Spoken Word/ Open Mic on line via Hillingdon’s Libraries Zoom.

In these times it is the ability to test out your stuff to others even if it is virtual.

To share an experience, I was reading a poem I wrote last year about the exam results ‘fiasco’ which I called Fruit as an allegory.

I was just about to finish reading the poem, last few lines when suddenly- Zoom went off.

Luckily I was able to log back on again, read the whole poem.

Just a symbol of the weakness of on-line performing and reliance on technology.!!!

Photo by Wallace Chuck on

I was also invited to a birthday party of a fellow spoken word artist.

In normal times that would be a bit of an anti-climax by me writing about it.

In these times, this was a journey, out of the safety of my home and into a pub.

I was surrounded ( following covid restrictions ) by fellow musicians and poets whom I hadn’t seen for such a long time.

I was also afforded the luxury of being able to perform a few of my new poems live and at a safe distance.

As it had been my birthday a few weeks before, I was able to reflect on growing old(er) and being a bit of a pessimist- the poem is more interesting than the way I am describing it.

I also read a poem that I had written for International Nurses Day 2021.

Prior to the Zoom performance and the live performance, I had sent this poem to the Director of Nursing within the Trust I work in.

I was given positive feedback and it may be ‘published’ on the staff intranet for others to see.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

I have also been thinking of ‘branching’ out and writing a different type of book.

My embryo of an idea is to merge both joys in my life, humour and knowledge.

I won’t give too much away save to say that cracker jokes are involved.

I am also starting to write a novel. I am using some of the ideas from the play I started writing as the basis.

I hope that when I flesh it out a bit then I can look at the storyline of the play and finish it.

Sometimes it is about taking the risk to get yourself out there and seen.

The worst that can happen is that they don’t like your words.

Free book!!!!

Hi my friends, fellow authors and readers.

As I have mentioned before, I have a new book published.

To celebrate this occasion, I have decided that for 4 days (8th April 2021) my first book, Mild Musings May Mitigate My Mentality, can be downloaded for free for 4 days from Amazon on Kindle.

For those of you who haven’t had an opportunity to see or hear my words, help yourself!!

I am asking you for just one favour/favor.

If you choose to do this, all that I ask is for a review.

Reviews, both positive and not so good, help me with the writing process.

Hopefully you will like the poetry so much that you will read one of my other books.

If so, then tell your friends and retweet/share on your social media.

Thank you all for your past and future support.

Love Loss & Lasciviousness

During the lockdown I have missed the company of others to bounce my ideas off.

I came across this book when I logged onto a book blog.

It coincidentally was written by an author whom I have met a few times when she has hosted various open mic/ spoken word events in a local library, which I have infrequently attended (prior to the COVID pandemic

When viewing the site I noted that Lara has shared some of the poetry on her book blog and I could have been a ‘cheapskate’ by just reading and then commenting,

Instead to show my commitment to the ‘poor authors’ of the world I have purchased my own copy which I will get autographed at a future date.

I am lucky that I have had the opportunity to hear her orate some of her work and I am pleased to be able to read it at my leisure now that I find some has been published.

Onto my review.

The image on the book is of “The Kiss” by Rodin, which initially is a celebration of Love.

One of the selling point was the fact that the book contains 29 poems which celebrated that the author was 29 years old when she put the collection together.

Another is it is a small volume which is easy to carry around when you want to quickly read a poem intermittently.

The title promises a myriad of emotional release (Love, Loss and Lasciviousness )

In confirming the definition of last emotion, it reveals the hidden soul of the author which is at risk of being condemned. There is a juxtaposition of the morality with love and loss against the staidness usually written.

The use of the word challenges you to condemn as immoral but in reality the words are a response to Love and Loss felt and is more around the ‘playfulness’ of relationships. The British psyche celebrates the lewd and bawdy in humour but is scared in the romance of life.

In reviewing the poetry itself, they don’t overwhelm by being too long, Unlimerick and it goes into the soul and inner reflection of Behind the Mirror, coincidentally I have a poem of my own named this within my first collection.

The poetry looks at the rawness of love and life and contrasts the ethereal with reality. the depth of emotion, the vivaciousness, pain and fun of humour of love.

There is an element of growth within the life of the book and the waves of feelings due to change and observations.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with the literary world by reading and reviewing the book.

Inspired by what?

Today I read a blog post on Twitter by another writer Jenny Quintana but originally forgot to save a link to it.

Photo by Pixabay on

The theme of the blog was what to do to get inspiration for writing. The writer had 3 tips which she found useful to share.

As I write this I will try to remember what they were and how they helped.

Some of them I have unconsciously used myself

1 listen to a piece of music. This may stimulate a word that causes a trickle of others to follow.

I have done this a lot. Often when sitting in the car you suddenly hear the words differently and the song may generate an alternative story or even just promote a calmness from the maddening world around.

I have listened to musicians playing at an open mic and the atmosphere just caused the words to flow. What I wrote was nothing to do with what was happening around me.

2 look at a picture or piece of artwork and imagine where it is, what feelings it generates or describe the colours and properties which you feel others can’t see.

As per above I have allowed my imagination to run wild just clanging words here and there.

3 read a book and take a random words from 10 pages

I have also used a version of this by getting a CD cover and using the track listings as the words.

This created a powerful list which I turned into a poem.

4 this is one of my own

Just sit in silence and listen to what is happening around you.

Look at the sky and visualise the clouds and create a story around them.

I was amazed at what I heard as I sat in my garden. I heard the motorway, a train (don’t live close to a station) but then I heard water in a neighbour’s pond.

Picking up the sound can sometimes provide either the inspiration or allow you to think without distractions

Having looked much closer at my notifications I managed to find the link

Her 3 tips were

Art and Music

Reading and using real experiences for example from newspapers to flesh out scenes

Doing something completely different

New Book Marketing

 It’s time to do some marketing of my new book.

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist on

Marketing feels like a dirty word to the artist in me who thinks of themselves as a ‘lone poet’ looking at the world going round seeking inspirations from life.

I have imagined that people visualise in their minds eye the poet sitting in the garret, feeling tortured by thoughts as the words that should be inscribed onto the paper do not flow as they should.

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There is a reality to this as ordinarily I would be out there at various venues performing my words and getting the vibes from others which I would translate into verses of ‘wonder’ (my view). I would be then getting the views/ feedback of others around me to criticise or corroborate the truth of that self-illusion.

Lockdown due to the corona virus pandemic has sadly robbed me of this imagined workshop of dreams and passions.

Onto much more brighter things now.

During 2019 and at the beginning of 2020 I was performing and writing my words and have decided that it is time to share some of my words with you.

I have been working on Book 3 which you, my kind followers can purchase for the small price of the imagined pint of beer which we would have been enjoying together.

Photo by Marianna OLE on

If you are more tech minded, then you can even download onto your Kindle for a lower price.

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on

Last year I was torn between a couple of titles, but I have decided on the quirky question

“Poetry for the end of the decade?”

Why did I choose this? It seems a strange phrase.

For me this had the 2 meanings.

  1. that at the end of decades there is always the query whether the decade ends on the 0 year which is going back to the millennium debate of many years ago.
  2. people really want to get away from 2020 and call it a non-year.

I don’t want to indulge in the debate (2019 ended the decade as far as I am concerned) but I can understand why we really want to start again given what has happened in the 366 days of 2020.

2021 certainly feels like a new beginning and in the words of JFK those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. … The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride.

We are looking forward to our crazy ride but at the time of writing we must remain careful.

However never erase your past. …


The Romans recognised that there needs to be a period of reflecting before change. The god Janus is the gateway between looking back and looking forward, hence my graphic

Anyway watch this space for future news