“Getting workshop feedback, for people who don’t know what that’s like, is basically a little bit like plugging your nose, and diving into a pool and then having a chorus of people singing at you underwater, and you can’t breathe or talk, or anything. But you sit there and you pretend you’re totally invisible, and you just kind of let their comments wash over you. Because if you take anything too personally–or positive comments too seriously–it’s a bad thing; if you take a negative comments [too personally], of course it’s a bad thing. I mean, so what I usually do is try to be very absorptive and sponge-like in that experience. And then I go home and put all of the written feedback in a folder somewhere and close the folder, and leave it for at least 2 or 3 weeks. And after those couple of weeks have passed, I transcribe the comments that I feel strongly about. Sometimes I listen more strongly to my professor’s voice than my classmates’, sometimes I jump into revision with a general idea. But I dive into the written feedback, as it’s really most powerful when I am able to set aside the time to comb through everything first.”
Kate Branca is a Teaching Assistant in the Creative Writing MFA program.