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On Finding Feedback

Anonymous asked: “I have recently written a story on which I think is pretty good, but I don’t have an outlet to get feedback or even share it with others. Advice?”

First, I recommend reaching out to friends who write. It might feel awkward at first, but that’s something to get over quickly. Always start with people you actually know.

It just is easier to trust them and they aren’t going to do anything inappropriate with your work or be overly rude about it. They may not want to be as honest as a stranger, but that honesty will develop with time. You need to talk with a writer friend for awhile before they’ll really tell you what they think of what you’re working on. You’ll know too just by the way their eyes light up if they’re excited about something or if it’s just ok. 

When you’re just starting out, I wouldn’t expect you to take anything right to your editor (you probably don’t have an editor yet). So start small – friends who read. Ask the bookworms you know if they’d take a look at your novel. Their feedback will help. Again, might be a little awkward at first, but you need to put yourself out there and if you’re starting with people you know in real life, it’s really a lot safer than internet strangers. 

Next, teachers, tutors, instructors – anyone who teaches writing or local writing groups. I’ve found so many writing events just through Google search and when I go, I always try to connect with people and make friends. Most of those friendships are other writers like me looking for someone to swap work and critique. Local writing groups or classes can also become great resources. They are all about feedback. 

Now, onto internet strangers. I won’t bash online people too much. Start with friends though, people you know. Online you have no idea who’s reading your work. I advice against sites like Wattpad if you aspire to publish through traditional methods. I’ve connected with great critique partners in the past through sites like Ladies Who Critique (it’s open to anyone, not just women), and additionally, there is a fantastic network of writers I’ve met just through blogging. It takes reaching out and asking around, but you’re likely to get best results talking with one person or a small group of people about your story than a random internet audience. 

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