i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » Learning Through Interactions

Responding to Writing Feedback

Feedback can be a helpful way to understand what changes could improve our writing. For example, a teacher may offer advice that will help you get a better score on a test, exam or assignment. They do this so you can tailor your writing according to the specific requirements of that task and do as well as you possibly can.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to abandon your own style of writing completely. Perhaps you’ve been told to use a less chatty tone in your essays; this doesn’t mean you should be stiff and formal when writing stories, magazine articles, or blog posts. When we are offered feedback, it is most often in relation to a particular task, rather than being a general assessment of us or our writing. We can have a number of different styles for different tasks and switch between these styles depending on what we need.

Sometimes the words of a teacher can feel like a powerful judgment and we may find ourselves changing what we do dramatically. Perhaps your horror story is too gruesome to submit for an assessment, so you’re advised to tone it down. This doesn’t mean you should permanently cut out this aspect of your writing. If you love it, explore it further and find the aspects of your style that are unique, special, or personal to you.

Remember, you can refine and improve your writing style without changing it entirely. There are many examples of writers who persevered with a style until it paid off and who worked hard to experiment with, develop and improve their writing. For example the award winning novelist Zadie Smith was told that her writing at school was too long and detailed, and the poet TS Eliot had to wait many years to publish some of his now famous works because they were so different from what readers and publishers were used to. In each case, ways of writing that were judged initially to be unsuccessful later came to be known as the foundation of the writer’s unique style and success.