The best way to get better at writing is to seek criticism from peers and mentors who are invested in your journey to becoming a better writer. No one gets better without feedback, and writing is no exception. When I say to seek criticism, that does not necessarily mean asking someone to proofread your writing. Rather, have your coach evaluate your entire writing and suggest ways to improve.
What is constructive criticism?
Constructive criticism is feedback you receive from someone else about your writing. Feedback can focus on any number of things related to your writing, including: tone/mood, grammar, vocabulary, flow, captivating intros, etc. A solid mentor, which we’ll discuss in the next section, will be able to provide you with feedback on all of these areas and help you identify the areas where you need to get better.
Where can you seek constructive criticism?
While you can always seek relatives or friends as writing coaches, the Internet has also opened up a whole host of other resources. From Subreddits about writing to online proofreading tools, you have access to writers and editors from around the world.
Family and Friends
Family and friends will probably be the most convenient sources who can provide feedback on your writing. While they may not be professional writers or editors, they can provide you with a general compass for your writing. Be wary of feedback from friends and family though, as it may not be as useful as criticism from strangers since people you know may hide your weaknesses so as to not offend you.
The Internet is filled with forums that allow you to interact with writers from the around the world. The most useful website for writing feedback is the Subreddit /writing where hundreds of thousands of writers hang out. You can easily submit your writing to this site and have lots of comments within minutes. Other great online forums include Critique Circle and WeBook.
There is no single place to find a writing mentor, but having one is a must in order to get better at writing. You can try searching forums online, reaching out to people in your local community, or asking friends and family if they have any recommendations. Even try reaching out to some of your favorite authors. They were once in your shoes and my bet is at least one who you reach out to will be willing to at least have a conversation with you about how to get better at writing.
The best mentors will be able to give you unbiased feedback about your writing and ideally be very strong writers themselves. Don’t settle for a mediocre mentor or you will only produce mediocre writing.
While not able to provide thematic feedback, the many automated bots online these days make proofreading and copyediting a breeze. Tools such as Ginger Software and Grammarly will instantly evaluate your writing and show where you need to change things or how you can improve.
When you seek constructive criticism for your writing you want to make sure that you are getting the best advice. If one of these options, say a family member, is not working out, try a different method. It’s important that you have a mentor who can stick with you as you continue on your journey to becoming a better writer.
For more from our 7 Days to Better Writing series: