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!
- 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!