We writers can be a solitary bunch, no doubt. Many of us, no matter how outgoing we may be around others, still value our alone time.
Our writing time.
There’s just something about retreating to a private nook—or favorite outdoor spot—and letting your mind wander into the world of your novel, knowing your story is limited only by your imagination and can go in any direction you choose.
It’s your story, so you call the shots.
Unfortunately, this freedom can backfire. Many of us are happy to operate in solitude from start to finish, but at some point other people will be involved. They’re called readers, and since conventional wisdom tells us no one will read the book until it’s published, our readers are often the very last people we think of.
But they should be the first.
After all, why do all that work, then release your book on nothing but a wing and a prayer? After spending vast amounts of time and energy over the course of many months—or years—you don’t want to just cross your fingers and hope that your intended audience will appreciate what you wrote.
You want to know for sure.
Fortunately, you can, and it’s called the Early Feedback Method.
This method allows you to write in solitude and stay in touch with the outside world—that is, with those who are eventually going to read and buy your book.
Here’s the underlying principle: the more feedback you get in the beginning, the better. Why? Because you want to make sure that what you’re writing is resonating with your audience. That way, you can better focus your efforts.
Being open to feedback doesn’t mean that just because one person doesn’t like something, you have to take it out. But what you’re looking for is that your story works, and the comments of your early readers will give you a feel for that. They’ll point out plot holes. They’ll find inconsistencies. They’ll tell you the pacing is a little off. And the most astute among them will have some ideas for how to fix it.
What you’ll end up with is a rock-solid foundation to build your novel on, and once you have that, writing the rest is a whole lot easier, and requires only minor adjustments.
Want to try out the Early Feedback Method? The 10K Social Writing Challenge is an excellent opportunity, and it starts October 1. Join here, and see how a “Social” month of interacting with other writers can help you improve your story!