Who Should Read Your Writing Before Publication?

Who should read your writing before publication? Should it just be you, your editor, and your publisher? Can your words go from months, maybe years, in your brain to your computer screen in a crappy first draft  to your re-write and a decent second draft to your editor’s eyes and a good third draft? Can they? Yes. Should they? No. Here’s the thing. You can write a crappy first draft. Let it sit. Re-work it until you feel like it is ready for an editor. That editor can find the flaws, the missing pieces, and help you to re-work it more until it is ready for publication.

But, if the two of you are the only people who see your work before a publisher does, how many hours of agony will you spend wondering if it, and you, are good enough? How many hours of editing will you have to endure based on notes from your editor because they find so many holes and gaps and canyons in the draft that you sent them?

It is important, I would go so far as to say imperative, that you have someone else, who isn’t you or your editor, look at your work. It doesn’t have to be a literary professional. All you need is a fresh pair of eyes on your story.

You need someone to read what you wrote and tell you that it is indeed good, and not garbage as you have been suspecting. You need someone to see that your main character suddenly changed in the middle of the story without you noticing. You need someone to tell you that your arguments make sense, but at times feel rushed. You need someone to tell you that your story needs work for sure, but that it has value in this world.

Sometimes writers feel as though they should have to sit at their tiny desks, in their tiny rooms, all alone and write out the feelings of the world while having no interactions with it. Fight this feeling. It isn’t healthy. You deserve to be encouraged in your life’s calling. You deserve to sit around with other writers (link to writing group blog) and discuss your woes and joys and learn from each other.

I am encouraging you, as a fellow writer, to let other people read your work, once you’ve made it past the crappy first draft of course, and to critique and praise it. This is a good and healthy writing practice. So go out and find someone who will read your writing and give you an honest opinion. It could be a friend or family member. It could be a writing mentor or a writing group. It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as you know that they have your best interests in mind.

Who do you trust to read your writing and give an honest opinion? Share with us in the comments section below.