Guidelines for Giving and Getting Constructive Feedback

Here are some guidelines I use in my writing workshops for giving and getting constructive feedback. Do you have others that work for you? Put them in the comments!

In General:

  • Be kind to imperfect writers and writing.
  • Recognize all first drafts need work and writing is a process.
  • Seek perspective on your own writing through the eyes of others.

When Giving Constructive Feedback:

  • Help the writer achieve a clear, coherent, and effective story—the one they are trying to write.
  • Offer positive feedback first, so that the writer can know their own strengths.
  • Point out areas of confusion and distraction.

When Getting Constructive Feedback:

  • Listen! Say very little. Resist the temptation to explain your work.
  • Understand that responses are subjective and all readers react differently.
  • Decide which feedback to incorporate as you revise.
  • Know that all choices are ultimately yours!

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