Everything you want to know about beta reading (well, maybe not everything…)
What struck me recently is that most of my clients, especially the latest ones, don’t really show their work to others. Some do occasionally, and some haven’t let others look at their words in years, if at all.
‘What’s the big deal?’ you might think, but if you’re writing for an audience and not just yourself, it is a big deal.
- Because most writers, this one included, suffer from imposter syndrome. We’re convinced our writing is absolutely terrible. No writer will ever be able to judge their own work entirely, and it’s in sharing our work with others that we learn whether or not we’re any good at it.
- Because most writers, this one included, need encouragement. I only started to take my writing seriously once I let others read it, and it was their cheering me on that eventually led me to a finished first draft of a manuscript, after years (over a decade, in my case) of rewriting and polishing the first seven chapters. It wasn’t until multiple people read what I was working on that I found the drive to write that eight chapter. Within a year, I added over 130,000 words and finished that first draft.
- Because most writers, this one included, are blind to their own mistakes. Whether it’s our plots, our grammar, our characters’ names (I have a tendency to go for names that end in the same sound and it makes for a terrible read!), the stereotypes we perpetuate, our spelling, others will pick up on the things—big and little—that we don’t.