Should you get your friends and family to read your writing?
Some people can’t wait to show their work to others. It’s barely left their fingertips and they’re shoving it under someone’s nose, begging to be told how wonderful it is.
Other people are secretive and private, hiding away in their little writing burrows and snapping at anyone who comes too close to their precious manuscript.
In reality, neither of these approaches is going to do you much good.
Feedback is extremely important, but more important is getting the right kind of feedback.
It seems obvious that the first people you’ll show your work to will be your friends and family. They know and love you, after all – will be happy to read your masterpiece and will be honest but constructive in their feedback.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that.
The most likely thing that will happen if you get your friends and family to give feedback on your work, is that they will tell you it was very good.
This gets you nowhere, but it’s not their fault.
The first problem is that they are not writers themselves (unless they are, in which case this article is not so relevant for you) so they don’t know how to identify what constitutes good writing.
The second problem is that they are biased, and are actually fairly unlikely to tell you the truth, especially if they didn’t like it. So if there are problems, and flaws that could be resolved, you’ll be none the wiser to where they are.
At worst, your loved ones might end up giving you well meaning but misguided advice, sending you down the wrong track.
So, my advice is to avoid getting your friends and family to read your work for feedback purposes (if they just want to read it for fun, then great!). For feedback that’s really going to improve your writing, you need to find a group of peers.
The advantage of doing this is that while you are critiquing their work in return, you get to learn even more, and gain important insights and tips.
You may want to read this post about Why you should join a writer’s group.