Today’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. It’s a way for insecure writers like myself give each other advice and encouragement. Click here to see a full list of participating blogs.
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Writing is an inherently lonely activity, or so I’ve often been told. To be a writer, you have to seclude yourself from the world, find someplace peaceful and quiet where you can concentrate, and stay there for hours upon end. Except it doesn’t have to be that way.
Yes, a part of the writer’s process is that alone time, but another important part is getting feedback from beta readers. I am fortunate enough to have friends who believe in what I’m doing, who want to encourage me, and who understand that the best way to help is to give me their brutally honest opinions of my work.
Some of these friends are fellow writers, but most are not. That doesn’t make their feedback any less valuable. In fact, I have learned that the more friends I make, the more people I include in my process, the more diverse range of perspectives I have involved in my work, the better my writing becomes.
Editing parties have become one of my favorite writing exercises. I invite several friends over for dinner, and we read a work in progress out lout. This is beneficial for three reasons:
- As I’m sure you already know, reading aloud helps you catch errors you might otherwise miss.
- When we’re finished, my friends can give me feedback while the story is still fresh in their minds, and we can brainstorm options to make the story better.
- Before we finish, I get to see my friends react to the story in real time. I see them grimace in confusion at a poorly written sentence or flip back a page because they think they must have missed something.
But perhaps the most important thing about editing parties is that my writing process no longer feels so lonely. Despite what other people may say, writing does not have to be an inherently lonely activity.