How to Receive Feedback on Your Writing Without Feeling Bad

Criticism makes our writing better if we can take it.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Reasons to seek out criticism for our writing:

  1. It makes you a better writer. Having an open, honest dialogue with a reader about what’s working and what needs improvement obviously makes us a better writer. Our writing isn’t ever perfect, but with some help, it can be better.
  2. It develops your “receptive” muscles. Learning how to receive criticism of your writing with grace and dignity will serve you well in other areas of your life. For example, when your boss tells you that you need to rethink your approach to a project at work.
  3. You learn emotion regulation skills. In other words, if receiving honest feedback on your writing makes you upset, actively seeking out that feedback helps you develop the skills of dealing with your emotions as they come up. This skill is helpful in virtually every area of life.

How I learned to receive criticism of my writing:

There are two things I did in college that helped me learn how to give and receive feedback on writing projects.

Tips I learned along the way:

  1. (You knew this was coming.) Don’t take it personally. Seriously. The more you can separate yourself from your writing project, the better you’ll be able to hear and receive feedback on your writing without feeling bad.
  2. You don’t have to make all of the changes that are suggested to you. You’re the writer. You’re in charge of your project and you get to take the feedback that’s helpful and leave the rest.
  3. Ask clarifying questions so you understand why changes are being suggested. If you don’t follow someone’s logic, ask them to clarify their feedback so you can determine if you want to incorporate it into your next draft.
  4. Thank the person for their feedback. (It’s not always easy to give criticism, you know!)

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