Don’t Know What Kind of Feedback You’re Looking For? Offer Someone Else a Critique

The more you give, the more you get. Feedback-wise, I mean.

Here’s an easy question for you: How often do you ask other writers for feedback?

Here’s a harder question: How often do you offer to give feedback to others?

In all the time I’ve spent as a writer and editor, I’ve found I’m better at my work the more I’m looking at the work of someone else. We see flaws in others’ writing much more prominently than we see our own — yet when we see others make mistakes, we recognize we’re making the same ones.

Ideally, we begin to correct these errors when we return to our own writing. The imperfections we spotted in another writer’s prose stick in our minds; we allow fewer of the same imperfections to make it into later drafts of our work.

It can also be difficult, even when someone offers you a critique, to know what kind of feedback you want. Are you looking for someone who can tell you how marketable your story is? Whether or not your writing structure makes sense? How great (or terrible) your plot is? The more feedback you give, the easier it becomes to pinpoint exactly what kind of feedback you need.

I’m very lucky to have a few different opportunities to sit on the other side of the process as an editor or critique partner. Many of you don’t have those same opportunities. However, you can still create that role for yourself — by offering others the chance to have their work critiqued.

Whether you do this for free or charge a fee is up to you and your circumstances. But you’ll reap more than just financial benefits. Plus, both sides win: the critic gets the experience of looking more closely at a piece of writing, and the critiqued gets (hopefully) valuable suggestions for improving their writing.

That sounds like a pretty worthwhile partnership to me.

So I have a proposition for you. Just hear me out.

I’d like to offer you the chance to get some individual feedback on your writing — from me.

One of my goals, as the creator of this blog, is to help you write better. As much as I’d love to be able to help every single one of you individually, that’s just not feasible. But I can help a handful of you every year — a dozen, even.

Once I have enough Patreon supporters, I’d like to offer one critique per month to a random patron as a thank-you for helping me make this blog more worthwhile for its followers.

I don’t have details in terms of what kinds of writing I’m willing to review, how many words/pages per person, or what kinds of critiques I can give — it’s all going to depend on monthly support. So in the meantime, if this is something you might be interested in taking part in sometime in the near future, please consider donating just $1 per month to Novelty Revisions. I don’t want to change the structure of this blog; I want to make it better. I want to offer more. Unfortunately, I’m a creator — I can’t afford to do that for free. I’d love to. But I can guarantee better, more in-depth feedback this way.

But I want to help you. I want that so, so much. I love offering writing advice and sharing my thoughts about writing with you — I don’t ever want to stop doing that. I just want to do more. And I want to give you an incentive to become a supporter of this community, because I can’t do more without you. Without you, I wouldn’t even be doing this in the first place.

Think about it. Think about what we could accomplish together. Also, you might as well jump in while the selection pool is small — you’re more likely to ‘win’ a critique with a smaller sample size. Right? OK, too far? Whatever. I’ll just put this link here. No pressure.

I love giving feedback. You love your stuff being read. Everyone’s happy. Especially you.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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