Category Archives: Sheila Bender On Writing

In Appreciation

One day, I created a writing exercise for myself by opening the dictionary to a random page. With my eyes closed, I circled my finger over the page until it landed on a word. I read the definition and wrote the word at the top of a blank Microsoft Word document. It was “hagioscope,” which…Continue Reading

Before and After: Shaping a Personal Essay Using the 3-Step Response Method

The back and forth you’ll read this week on the development of an essay-in-progress demonstrates the power of my three-step response method for helping writers revise. Years ago, Marjorie Ford sent me an essay-in-progress that she was having trouble developing to her satisfaction for meeting an upcoming anthology submission deadline. After I received her first draft, we immersed ourselves in the three-step response, back and…Continue Reading

Get Real Response to Your Writing from Anyone

We too often receive unhelpful, even harmful, response from first readers of our early drafts. We may feel our writing is being ripped apart or our readers are more interested in fixing punctuation and grammar than in our subject and feelings. Or we may hear, “That’s nice,” which is deflating and doesn’t really help us move deeper into our…Continue Reading