Sometimes when we write, we really don’t want to face criticism for our ideas. This can lead us to be overly insular, shielding our work from honest review. After all, it can be tough to hear that there are problems with what we’ve written, especially if we’ve invested a lot of time and effort into it.
It would be a mistake, however, to take constructive criticism as a personal attack. No one can know everything, and sometimes the infusion of a different viewpoint can be just what a paper needs. It is, therefore, a sound idea to seek and give due consideration to the perspectives and advice of others.
Here are some helpful tips to remember when seeking feedback:
Remember that other people have a life, too. It’s best to avoid giving them too short notice. Try to allow for at least a couple of days, as this will also give them enough time to really look at your work and give a worthwhile evaluation.
Everyone may have an opinion, but…not all of those opinions are going to be worth listening to. While it’s true that you can learn something from just about anyone, it’s best to primarily seek feedback from someone qualified to give it in the area you need it. You can ask a history professor about how to unclog your drain, but wouldn’t it make more sense to ask a plumber?
Don’t be afraid to actually use the advice you get. When you started your paper, you may have had a pretty clear idea about what you wanted to do. Then, after inviting feedback from a well-informed person or two, you see that their ideas about your work have merit. At this point, you can either embrace your pride and ignore what they said, or you can choose to benefit from their knowledge; the latter approach is recommended.
So, don’t be afraid (or too proud) to use feedback. In fact, time permitting, it’s a good idea to make it a habit when writing essays. Who knows? Someday someone may ask you for help in writing their paper.