Do you ever wonder….

what your teacher does after they send you a long letter with feedback?


Here is the answer: they don’t sleep!

Critiquing is a relationship. It is a bond that has to start and finish with respect and humility and trust. When I send feedback–especially the kind that invites the author to think in new ways–I trust that they know I am on their side. I trust that they know I care about their work and story and life. I trust that they won’t take my words and either make a list or throw their story away.

After I press send, I worry. I have had bad critiques. I know how dismantling they can be.

Today, I hope all my students are feeling great about their stories. I hope they have lightbulb moments. I hope they are taking notes. I hope they all know how much I respect them and their work.

When I wrote those letters, that is what I hoped for.

2 Responses
  1. I followed through with the dismantling of the piece and put it back together again. But then it was still bad. I don’t think the disheartening part is the feedback from teachers like you with the student’s best interest in mind. The disheartening part is the years of work without fruition on a piece. Sometimes it’s best to put a story on the back burner and work on others until the first one is ripe enough to come back to. Thanks for being a good teacher and hopefully your students in your current class know to keep chugging along and use your advice for all their stories.

    1. Melinda,
      I think we ALL need to put our stories “in the drawer” for a while. For me, it’s really important to take time away from a manuscript…when I revise, I need fresh eyes! (Sometimes over and over again!!)

      Don’t be disheartened!

      I don’t know any published writers who don’t have at least one manuscript in a drawer. I have three. I don’t know if I’ll go back to any of them, but I know they taught me a lot about writing! I honor them every time I write something new!

      Keep writing!!!!

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