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Gordon-Conwell Writing Center

Applying Feedback

So What?

Writers should expect to get feedback on their writing. Getting feedback is necessary for successful revision and editing. Writers must get past the initial intimidation of receiving feedback and focus on the benefits of hearing others’ constructive criticism. Only then will they truly be writing with readers in mind. Furthermore, it is important to note that feedback is not beneficial unless a writer knows how to understand and apply it.

Summarized Explanation

  • Feedback on one’s writing should provide guidance for improvement.
  • Feedback on one’s writing is sometimes overwhelming at first.
  • Feedback on one’s writing is not the final word on revising and editing .
  • Feedback on one’s writing should be reviewed and applied carefully.


Detailed Explanation

Writers should consider all feedback that they receive, but they must also be able to distinguish between constructive and unconstructive feedback. Writers should focus on feedback that guides them toward improvement. Even still, getting feedback can be intimidating, but it becomes easier with time. Feedback can be especially daunting when there are excessive comments on one’s writing. Whether a writer receives few or many comments, he/she must be able to review and apply the feedback; below is a suggested guide for doing so. Lastly, it is important to remember that writers have the liberty to accept or reject feedback, although they should do so judiciously.

Suggested Guide for Applying Feedback

  1. Read through the feedback at least one time.
  2. Copy each piece of feedback on a separate page so that all comments can be viewed together.
  3. Highlight all revision-related feedback in one color and all editing-related feedback in another color to identify what types of changes are recommended.
  4. Highlight any repeated or similar feedback in a third color to identify the weakest (and most urgent) areas in the text.
  5. Wisely select and omit which feedback will and will not be applied.
  6. Develop an action plan for revision and editing with more urgent changes at the top of the list.
  7. Set aside ample time to review any relevant writing guides or other writing resources.
  8. Begin revising and editing the text.
  9. Consider requesting a second round of feedback.