Let me take a wild guess: Because you enjoy writing, you’ve always dreamed about making a living with it.
After all, friends and family members tell you how much they love and enjoy your writing every time you share it with them, so it must be good enough.
Am I right so far?
But now that you’re ready to become a professional writer, you’re suddenly reading everywhere you turn that it’s dangerous to depend on the people closest to you for feedback on your writing. One, they may not know enough about writing to give you relevant and useful feedback. Two, even if they are knowledgeable, they might be less than honest about any negative feedback they have, to avoid hurting your feelings.
And now, you’re completely off-balance because you don’t know who else to ask, or where else you can go to get honest feedback on your writing. Since I’ve been in your shoes before, I understand how you feel.
But there is good news!
Whether you’re a brand-new writer wanting to confirm if your writing is good enough to be your main source of income, or you need another set of eyes on a work in progress to be sure you’re on the right track, there are various options you can explore.
Ready to learn more? Keep reading to discover five shrewd ways you can get honest feedback on your writing.
Hire a Professional Editor
One of the best ways to get honest feedback on your writing is to hire a professional editor.
Professional editors have no other job than to provide honest, constructive, and actionable feedback on your writing without changing your unique voice. In almost all instances, using their feedback to make recommended changes results in a noticeable improvement in your content.
Now, let’s take a quick look at the different types of editors available and the kind of feedback you can expect from each one:
- Structural/Developmental editors analyze your writing and provide big-picture feedback on how your writing is structured or arranged; sections, chapters, or scenes that need to be added or removed; and the logical flow, consistency, and coherence of information, arguments, and style.
- Copy/Line editors examine your work and provide feedback about your sentence structure, tone, clarity, and facts. They can also recommend that you reword, rearrange, or even rewrite some sentences or paragraphs.
- Proofreaders usually correct spelling, capitalization, formatting, punctuation, and so on.
Remember, as long as you hope to make your writing available to the public, whether in the form of a book, an article, a blog post, or any other type of content, most likely you’ll need to work with an editor sooner or later, simply because they’re an important and established part of the writing industry.
Take Part in Writing Contests and Competitions
Are you aware that lots of contests and competitions are out there for different types and levels of writing?
Believe it or not, this is another way for you to get honest feedback on your content. No matter the type of writing you enjoy or specialize in, most likely you can find a writing contest or competition geared toward it.
And don’t be surprised if some of the contest judges turn out to be editors, agents, bestselling authors, and other professionals in the writing industry that you don’t normally interact with or have access to.
In addition to the thrill of competing and possibly going home with a mouthwatering prize, entering a contest or competition gives you a unique opportunity to receive honest and unbiased feedback on your writing from the contest judges.
Though this may vary from one contest to another, the feedback can go as far as to:
- Identify weaknesses observed in your writing.
- Explain why a particular section or scene was given a low mark.
- Provide suggestions for improvement, in some cases.
By taking part in relevant contests and competitions in your niche or genre on a regular basis, you can get honest feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your writing so you can make the necessary corrections to improve it.
Pitch and Write Guest Posts
To get honest feedback on your writing, you can also pitch and write guest posts.
Guest posts are blog posts or articles that you write and publish on another person’s blog or website so you can introduce your writing or business to a new group of people. On top of that, you’ll also be able to create more awareness for your content, attract more people to your blog or website, and so on.
Most blogs and websites that accept guest posts are always on the lookout for high-quality content that provides value for their audience and is written with excellent grammar and spelling skills.
In addition, they expect anyone interested in writing a guest post for them to not only create the time to read, study, and understand their guidelines but also to comply with them in full. This goes a long way toward boosting your chances of getting your pitch and final post accepted.
If your pitch is accepted, and they’re happy to publish the article without too much editing, you can be sure that the quality of your guest post pitch and writing are good enough for that blog.
Bottom line, the extent to which your guest post pitches and final articles are accepted or rejected is a form of honest feedback on the quality of your writing and pitches.
Join a Writing Community That Gives Feedback
Another shrewd method you can use to get honest feedback on your writing is to become a member of a critique group or a writing community that provides feedback.
If you don’t know what it is, a critique group is a group of writers that meet regularly for the sole purpose of providing feedback or critiques on the writing of their members. On the other hand, a writing community that provides feedback also helps members address other issues, such as dealing with rejection, impostor syndrome, writer’s block, and many more.
In essence, whether you decide to become a member of a writing community that gives feedback or you prefer to join a critique group, you’ll receive honest feedback on your writing on a regular basis.
Get a Writing Coach
Hiring and working with a writing coach is another great way to get honest feedback on your writing.
Unlike an editor, who focuses strictly on identifying areas that need improvement in a piece of writing, a writing coach usually goes a step further to act as a guide that provides the support, encouragement, inspiration, and accountability you need to take your writing to a higher level.
Apart from giving you honest feedback, a writing coach can also help you:
- Develop an action plan to achieve your writing goal.
- Be accountable and keep to the agreed-upon plan.
- Overcome any problems and challenges that may arise along the way.
- Make better decisions about your writing craft, business, and career.
Even though some writing coaches also work as editors, not all editors work as writing coaches. And at times, you can find writing coaches who also provide ghostwriting services, offer project management services, or even help their clients to get published.
In essence, when you hire a writing coach that’s right for you, not only will you get honest feedback on your writing, you’ll also increase your chances of meeting and exceeding all your writing goals, sooner rather than later.
Use Honest Feedback to Improve Your Writing
No doubt about it, getting honest feedback on your writing is one of the most effective ways to quickly learn about problem areas in your content, whether you’ve just started your writing journey, career, or business, or you’ve just finished a first draft.
Instead of turning only to close friends and family members for feedback, you can take part in writing contests and competitions, or join a critique group or writing community that provides feedback. You can also hire an editor, pitch and write guest posts, or even work with a writing coach.
All in all, by using one or more of these options, you can expect to receive objective and honest feedback that you can use to push your writing to the next level and achieve your writing goals.
Feature photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash