I’ll let you in on a secret: I made a glaring error in my second book. And, why? Because I was arrogant and myopic, and probably a little stupid. Thankfully, that writer has grown up a bit and her writing has, too. I cringe when I think how confident I was when I published, only to read that mistake in print knowing (at the time) it was too late to edit. UGH! I felt like such an idiot.
Please let me help save you from a similar fate.
Here’s how to prevent putting into print something you may regret later on: GET FEEDBACK.
Feedback is crucial to keep you on track and gives you the necessary input to improve your writing and your message. Whatever the craft and whatever the level, there’s not a writer born who doesn’t need help along the journey. If you want to make a statement with your work, then you need step away from the keyboard and make some brave moves.
Here are five ways to write (almost) flawlessly:
- Join a Writing Group/Writer’s Workshop. The best way to improve your writing is to give and receive feedback from fellow writers. No one knows the pain or work it takes to craft a story better than your peers. They understand how close you are to your subject matter and can not only offer objective criticism but professional or semi-professional advice.
- Have friends who represent your target market read some of your chapters and offer their take. This gives you non-professional feedback from the perspective of your audience.
- If you can afford it, and you’re on about the third or fourth rewrite of your rough draft, hire a professional collaborative editor. This type of feedback is critical to the construction of your book. Be sure to select a collaborative editor who specializes in your specific genre.
- Hire a line editor before you go to print. I’m not going to say that they’ll catch every error, and even publishers muck things up, but this will give your writing the ultimate polish it needs for publication.
- Listen to all feedback you receive. Take the time to mull over the recommendations. Leave your ego in the other room, and really take the comments to heart. Then decide for yourself what is beneficial and what is chaff.
Will any of this be easy? For most people the answer is no. Like a mama bear, we writers tend to be protective of anything we produce. But, those of us willing to humble ourselves to receive well-intentioned feedback will see our writing soar to the next level.