The metatext is writing that reflects on writing.  That is, after you've written something--an essay, story, whatever--it's often useful to reflect on what you've done as a way of helping you think about what to do next.  Here are some ways to use a metatext:

Student Examples

This metatext was written after a student wrote the draft of an essay on relationships.   My comments in red ink name what I see her doing.

                       STUDENT METATEXT #1

I know that this is still just a story and it needs to have a bit more tension.  Do you have any ideas?  I think I should work on showing how this relationship was built because of our working together on something we both love to do.   Then I could perhaps talk about a relationship under these circumstances did not work this way and rather ruined the relationship, perhaps because one person was in it for enjoyment while the other became a perfectionist and they drove each other mad.  Does that sound like a good idea?  Do any of you know of a story like that that you could share with me?   I am very pleased with how I built more of the main idea upon my first sentence.  (Since I didn't tell you my main idea, I'd better do it now.  It is "How a relationship full of love and enjoyment can be built on a common interest or talent when worked on together.)   Could you get that out of the essay?  Thanks, guys!    


Here the writer plans what she needs to do and asks for feedback on her idea.    


Here the writer asks for actual information that she could include in her essay.  
The writer identifies what she's done well.  

The writer says what she sees as the main idea to see if she succeeded in conveying it.

This next metatext was written after a student wrote the draft of an essay on leadership in the classroom.

                     STUDENT METATEXT #2

I think the beginning of the essay is weak.  I generally have a strong beginning and end.  I go back to something from the beginning and finish the essay with it.  In this case, though, I had trouble getting started.  I procrastinated for so long that it was a drag to begin the actual paper.  Once I start, my ideas flow and it all falls into place.  I thought it was going to turn out longer than it did.  I added extra to the middle and now I am uncertain if it fits in properly.   I guess I will have to wait for feedback from others.  It makes more sense what is unclear after I hear someone else say it.  One of my big problems with writing is that I assume the audience always knows what I'm talking about.  Often that is untrue, which leaves my essays unclear and readers uncertain of my point. 


The writer identifies a problem with her writing process.  She also identifies an area of her essay to work on.   


The writer identifies another problem and solicits feedback.


 The writer states a general problem with her writing and indirectly asks for readers to say what they see as her point.