Making the most of feedback

Everybody is always learning at ‘What’s Your Story?’ and the great thing about our feedback system is that you not only learn about your own creative work, but you’ll also learn the very valuable skill of asking for and acting upon feedback from your fellow creative people (in this case, the Editorial Board). This can feel like quite a vulnerable position to be in – but remember that nobody here is giving anyone a grade, or judging anybody as a person based on the creative work they produce. Your feedback remains private to you, and is for you to engage with as you want to.

Also, please remember – the feedback provided by our Editorial Board is not associated with curriculum requirements for SQA or any educational qualifications. Please do not try to get help with school or university assignments by submitting them for feedback –  this is not what What’s Your Story? is intended for.

This feedback is intended solely for your benefit as a creator in your personal development. If you are sitting exams or submitting folios in which creative work is to be judged and marked by your teachers or external examiners, you should follow the criteria that they have given you. What our Editorial Board feeds back to you might hamper your grade, even if we believe it will help your creative potential.

Last but not least – remember this: we’re extremely grateful to everybody who takes the time and energy to create a piece of work and then submit it for consideration to our Magazine. You aren’t just the future of our literary culture, you’re helping to make it right now – and that’s why we want you to have access to this opportunity for feedback from age 13 upwards.

How to use your feedback

Showing your work to other people can be nerve-wracking no matter how old you are, or how many years you’ve been doing it, but the benefit is huge because once you do, you will have some understanding of what your audience think of your work.

Here is how to make the most of your feedback:

  1. Read it several times. Make sure that you are understanding what it actually says to you, and aren’t so excited or nervous you find yourself misunderstanding it.
  2. Give yourself space to think about it. Take the time to go for a walk, or sit quietly thinking about this feedback. This will help you to put it in context, and not rush to take action which you can’t have thought through.
  3. Re-read your work while thinking about the feedback. Do you now have a better understanding of how a person new to your work will interpret it? This can take a long time to do, so set aside the time and be patient with yourself and the feedback.
  4. Figure out if you agree with the feedback. You might not, in the end! We are providing you with professional editorial feedback on your work, but that does not mean it is the absolute “final word” on what you have created or how to make it better. This is your work, this is for you to decide.
  5. Take action in response to your feedback. Try to re-write or edit the piece – or to create something new – with the feedback in mind. This doesn’t mean to do what the feedback says like a robot, but it does mean to keep that perspective in mind while you develop your work. This is how you bring new depth and dimension to your creative work.
  6. Remember, somebody who cares about your future as a creative person made this feedback for you. They don’t know you, but they do care very much about helping you to develop with as many good resources as possible – and feedback is one of the most precious of all. So please respect your feedback and make use of it. This is the most valuable experience What’s Your Story? can give you and we hope it will help you to find your footing in your creative life.