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Dear Dad,

I’m sitting here with thirteen chapters of your new novel in front of me.  This is the first free moment I’ve had to even think about this, and I am so sorry to disappoint you, but there’s no way that I can offer you the kind of feedback you’re looking for. 

I have got to say, I envy you your retirement!  And I think it’s great that you devote so much of your time to the creative projects you find so fulfilling.  But the sad fact is, there is no way I have the kind of free time it would take to keep up with your output and give you the thoughtful response you deserve.

I wasn’t able to give you any feedback on the last book, and I feel terrible about it.  I felt guilty for all those months when you were asking me and I just couldn’t make the time.  The thought of going through that again is giving me real feelings of dread.  I think that we would both be a lot happier if I was honest with you and with myself about what I am capable of doing, and if I wasn’t disappointing you all the time.  I hate letting you down when you’re asking for help, but I think I could be a much better daughter to you if I wasn’t also trying to be your editor.  I don’t call as much as I used to because I hate having to tell you that no, I still haven’t gotten to your manuscript.

I’m not saying that feedback isn’t important – as a writer myself I take feedback very seriously.  I just think that you need to find people you can rely on to give your work time and attention, and I also think you should try asking people other than your kids.  Let’s face it – you’re my dad and I love you, and I’m going to like what you write more because you’re my dad and I love you.  You should be asking people who can be brutally honest with you and see things from an outside perspective.

I know that you really hate the idea of writing workshops, but you might want to reconsider.  Not only could you get advice from other writers and guidance from the workshop leader, but looking at the work of other people can really help you see yours in a new light and teach you how to make things better.  

Again, I’m sorry to let you down.  I hope you can understand.