The other day I got an email from a friend of mine who has recently rediscovered her writing mojo. She asked me a super common question. “Who should I get to read/edit my writing?”
Hmm…this is a major question and a hard one to answer As any writer knows, taking that huge step to let someone read your work is huge. Like, H-U-G-E, huge! I mean, after all…you’ve been slaving away, writing your heart, spilling your guts out onto the page, and to let someone else read it and possibly criticize it, is terrifying.
Now, if you write for yourself and yourself only, then it’s fine. You don’t ever have to let anyone read your work. It’s cool. BUT…if you ever want to share your work, publish in any format, or really, do anything with your work, you will need to let someone read your words at some point.
Obviously you have choices here. I mean, you don’t have to hand your precious words over to just anyone. But, that’s an option too.
My friend asked me if she should give her work to her husband to read.
Here’s my thought on that. NO!
Of course there are exceptions to this rule. But…almost never. I don’t believe your spouse or close friends should ever be your first readers. This is why…they love you.
People close to you will do one of two things. 1) they will blow smoke up your ass and tell you how wonderful it all is and how they can’t believe you aren’t already number one on the New York Times Bestseller list.
2) They will over criticize it. They’ll find every little thing that they possibly can that may be potentially wrong with it and they’ll point it out because they’re trying so hard to help you.
I don’t really think a lot of good can come from either situation. But fortunately, there is a solution. Find a writing group. I know, I know, this sounds easier than it is. But there are a few places you can look. Put up an ad at your local library, check out your local writers’ guild and heck, do an online search. If in person groups aren’t your thing, there are plenty of online critique groups that lots of writers have had success with. Critique Circle is the first one that comes to mind. I’ve heard that there are some Facebook groups of writers as well that hang out and discuss each others work.
And…it doesn’t have to be a group situation. You could hire editors as another option. There are all types of editors depending on your needs. Content editors, line editors, you name it.
See? There are lots of options for a fresh set of eyes for your work beside those that love you most. Unless of course you happen to be married to an editor. But even then…