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Test Yourself: Show Off Your Writing

by Jennifer on April 1, 2010

By Joe Williams

Good advice is valuable when you actually take it and put it into action. You can read all the self-help books in the world, but they’re a waste of money if you aren’t using the information that you learn.

I’ve found that testing myself is the best way to figure out where I’m at with my writing and determine how to get where I want to go.

By test yourself, I mean put your work out there for someone to read.

Testing yourself requires you to understand what you’re in for. After your work is read and analyzed by someone, the flaws will show themselves.

Embrace them instead of being discouraged. This will help you grow.

In a competitive field (like writing) and with everything going on in your life, it’s easy to get scared and not want to show your writing off to anyone.

Feeling this way is the first step. Realize what’s not working for you and fix it.

So many writers will spend time working on something and never let anyone else read it.

I say, test yourself. Give something you’re not sure of to a neutral third party and see what he/she thinks. It can be anyone, even if they’re not a writer too.

Take their advice or leave it, but either way, put yourself out there and get some feedback on your writing.

Testing yourself  will help you see what you need to work on. This is an important part of creating a final product that you’re happy with.

And it’s especially important if you plan on selling your work at some point.

About the Author: Joe Williams is rock-n-roll singer/songwriter. He creates original writing daily, and believes it’s important for writers to find their own style.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joanne Elliott aka soulsprite April 1, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Sometimes scary to do, but a much faster way to get better at what you do. Great advice!

2 Monica Rodriguez April 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Yes, excellent advice, but it IS scary. So next question is: how do you get past the fear itself to be able to let those ‘neutral party’ eyes see your work? For me, frankly, it’s just short of terrifying.

I know at one point people will review my work. But I feel I’m not good enough for that yet. So, let’s say it’s just the fear talking – how can I combat that? The way I feel now, it’s just not going to happen for a while.

3 Sandra S. Richardson April 3, 2010 at 9:33 am

I’ve taken that step, several times now. I think, at this point, the most important lesson I’m learning is just to not get upset so badly when the suggestions and recommendations for changes are handed to me.

I’m hoping that recognizing craft issues will soon follow because I seem to be thick headed when it comes to being able to spot them on my own, or to have it make sense when pointed out to me. Especially “show, don’t tell.”

Sandra

4 Andrew Toynbee January 17, 2011 at 10:41 am

I’ve just been through this process…and it is frightening!

My current project concerns a female paramedic and all the supernatural goings-on around her. As part of my Second Draft, I had to extract the relevant ‘paramedic paragraphs’ text and send it off to a real, live paramedic (who’d offered to help, incidentally – it wasn’t a cold call!) for a technical review.
I almost fell at the first hurdle. My cursor circled the ‘send’ button as I debated whether or not I ought to simply delete the email.
But I strengthened my resolve, sent it – and then crossed my fingers.
What tipped the scales of indecision was this thought;
If I was too afraid to send off a few paragraphs to one person, why in hell was I putting together a whole novel?
For Fun?
To hide it beneath the bed?
No – it’s going to be read (that’s my hope, anyway) by many, many people, some of whom may be experts, others who just want to be entertained.
So my advice is (and I’ve now done this); gather a small group of ‘friendly’ readers and send them extracts (or the whole thing – if you trust them to be watertight) and ask for their reactions. If you can’t surmount this hurdle, you may have to ask yourself about your reasons for writing.

In case you’re wondering, my paramedic was very pleased with what I’d done and said he was looking forward to seeing the finished article…

If I can…you can!

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