Don’t be so arrogant as to think that no one can point you toward improvement. Even Stephen King appreciated feedback from his wife Tabitha. Putting your written content out there should first require a supportive process.
To begin, we might have great ideas and share them with skilled eloquence, but gaining the feedback, guidance, and an impartial read can be the difference between good writing and superb writing. Whether you pay for your support or are lucky enough to have highly skilled friends, here are some options:
Hire a Writing Coach
A writing coach will consult with you about your literary vision before and/or during your writing process. You can access a coach for one session or as many as you wish. The objective is to clarify your purpose, audience, tone, and broad direction for this endeavor, then gain intermittent feedback at agreed upon check points. A writing coach understands that you are an artist, that these things evolve as you go, and that you are only making step-by-step manageable commitments. These conversations prove valuable because our ideas are refined and improved through conversation. A professional has read loads of literature before this and can help you to head off problematic patterns.
Find Beta Readers
Once your rough draft is complete, elicit a beta reader (or literary friend-at-large) who is willing to grant feedback for free! Enter this relationship with an expectation of making agreeable revisions. You are the one to make those ultimate decisions. Beta readers are just one voice to consider, and I always use two to three beta readers. Too many readers can build confusion, but too few can limit your scope. Be sure to research the best ways to find and use an effective beta reader here.
Start a Writer’s Club
Some tips on starting a writing club are here. My writing club will provide 30 minutes of feedback on my short stories once a month. If I am writing a novel, I give them one chapter at a time. This feedback helps me curb confusing passages, or determine where I might need to expand. Sometimes they will suggest a small single change that deepens the meaning. These sessions bring a lot of energy and inspiration, which writers need. It is never an overly critical or negative experience. Writers are generally very kind and helpful to other writers.
Seek Freelance Editing
Be clear with your coaches and beta readers that you only want feedback on your content, characters, plot, or narration – all of which are not editing services. Once the revisions are complete, leave the grammar, punctuation, and sentence structures to your friendly freelance editor. A freelance editor can go in and fix the errors and issues with language, but a truly great editor will also keep a running list of your common faulty patterns. To be informed of repetitious problems is the greatest service for your money. Those nasty patterns keep you from your own growth and improvements as a writer, so ask your editor to share them with you openly. If you want a free consultation on an editing option, reach out any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am a freelance coach and editor and am happy to assist you.