I saw an article over the weekend that an academy in England is banning the use of the red pen for corrections by teachers. The reason: it hurts students' self-esteem. OMG! How about the fact that it can also make you a better writer? I can speak on this issue from personal experience.
I was new in my first supervisory job in health care and I was asked to write my first memo for the Director of Materials Management to sign and send to his counterparts in the organization. I sat down with pen in hand and wrote the memo. I gave it to my boss, who gave it to the Director. Within the hour it was returned to me with a sea of red. You could barely see the blue ink that I had used to write the original. I was crushed; after all, I already had three years of college. I asked myself and my immediate boss if my writing ability was that bad? My boss was kind and said that his boss was rather particular. I re-wrote the memo with his many changes and suggestions and it was then signed and sent.
That process repeated itself many times and over time my writing skills improved dramatically and eventually no more red pen markings. To this day, I value someone taking the time to assist me in developing my writing skills. Did I find the red pen intimidating? Sure I did, but I valued what it meant. What it said to me was "stop and re-think what it is that you are trying to say; learn from someone who certainly knows more than you do."
To this day, I so very much appreciate George Rasmussen taking his time to make me not only a better writer but seeing the potential in me. You see, within three years of that first memo written by me as Equipment Supervisor and red inked from top to bottom, I was the Director of Materials Management, replacing my mentor--all because of his guidance, direction and, most importantly, because he cared.
The red pen certainly gets one's attention and if you understand the intention behind the red ink, your self-esteem should remain well in tact.