Working with Feedback

Before You Begin 

Remember: You are not your writing! Before you start working with the feedback you received, remind yourself that you are valuable, and so is what you have to say. If you’re feeling anxious about reading what others have to say about your writing, it might help to take five minutes to do some deep breathing or other relaxation exercises. 


Step 1: Evaluate the Source 

Who gave you this feedback? 

A Peer 

Feedback from your peers can be very helpful, especially if they are in your same course or degree program. Even if they are unfamiliar with the content, peers may be able to call new ideas, confusing sections, or questions to your attention. Remember that, typically, a peer will not have the same subject matter expertise as a professor and might not know how to provide feedback in the most effective manner.  

A Peer Writing Consultant 

A peer writing consultant will have more specialized training in how to provide feedback on your writing. They know strategies for drafting and revising and can teach you techniques you can use on your own in the future. Writing consultants are a great resource for improving your skills and confidence as a writer. However, they may not have background knowledge on the subject matter your work addresses. 

Your Instructor 

Your instructor’s comments will be the most relevant if you’re hoping to improve your grade in that particular class. If you have questions about their feedback, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Each instructor will have slightly different expectations, so it’s important to pay attention to the comments for each individual assignment. 

Step 2: Notice Patterns 

Ask yourself: Does this feedback resemble comments I’ve received in the past? If so, this is helpful information for avoiding those same errors in the future. Take note of any patterns you see in the types of feedback you’re getting. For example, does your professor always comment on your organization? Thesis statement? Quote integrations?  

Don’t forget to notice positive patterns too! Where have you received positive feedback? Try to identify the strategies you used to achieve those successful elements of your writing. 

Step 3: Make a Plan 

Once you’ve evaluated the source of the feedback and taken note of patterns, it’s time to make a plan of action. How can you best address the concerns that have been highlighted in your feedback?  

Here are some ideas for next steps: 

  • If you’re confused about your feedback, bring follow-up questions to the person who gave you the comments. 

  • Assess the feedback and decide which comments you want to address in your paper.  

  • Make a list of the things you need to do to address those issues. This can help you stay organized and focused, ensuring that the changes you make address the feedback you received.   

  • Based on the feedback you received, make a list of things you want to keep in mind next time you complete a writing assignment. Then, read through those steps at the beginning of your next writing process. 

  • Do independent research on topics that have been giving you trouble. The Wingspan has writing guides on many different topics, but there are also plenty of great online resources from other organizations and writing centers. 

  • Make an appointment with a writing consultant! Peer consultants are trained to guide you through all parts of the writing process, including working with feedback.  

Overall, remember it is still your writing! You get to decide which suggestions you want to incorporate. You do not have to make every change that is recommended, but you should consider those suggestions, particularly if multiple people provide the same feedback.  

In Conclusion 

Incorporating external feedback into your writing process will help you become a better writer and prepare you for receiving feedback in other areas of life. This process can be intimidating, so don’t forget to reward yourself for doing the hard work of working with others’ comments on your writing!  


Updated June 2024