Welcome to How to Keep Writing Wednesdays, where you'll find a boost of encouragement to help you keep the words flowing.

Choosing Readers

Sharing your writing with others can be a vulnerable experience, which is why it’s important to be deliberate when asking for feedback from others. First, you want to be clear on the type of feedback you want to receive (more on that here). Second, you want to make sure that you’re putting your writing in the hands of people you trust.

Share your work wisely, and with people who respect what you’re doing. If you’re looking for a pat on the back, don’t wait for someone to do that for you. We all like to get confirmation that we’re on the right track, but don’t spend too much time looking outside of yourself for assurances. Give yourself a pat on the back, and then get back to writing.

If your story is finished and ready to be shared, do it but without expectation. And if someone is negative or unhelpful or cruel, don’t share your work with them again. Find readers who are respectful and thoughtful. You only need two or three.

If you have the opportunity to read your work aloud (or have someone else read your work for you aloud), do it. You’ll hear what works and what doesn’t. Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto, reads all of her novels to a friend once they’re finished. I use the automated voice on my computer to read passages and whole chapters. There are lots of ways to do this, but the bottom line is to write and share your work in progress thoughtfully. Choose your readers well and be specific as to what you need from them—don’t be open-ended about it.