A bit of an aside, but worth mentioning: Not everyone makes a good objective reader.
It’s a real temptation, when looking for feedback, to turn to the people closest, the ones I see the most, the ones I’ve probably talked to about my work ad nauseum, the ones who are waiting and eager to see what I came up with, and ask one of them to be my OBJECTIVE READER. This is almost never a good idea. (I want to say “absolutely never” but I’m trying to ease up a bit in life.)
The reason is clear, no?
A key quality for an objective reader is OBJECTIVITY and there are a few people in my life who, when it comes to me, have very little objectivity. Their vision is blurred by knowing both me AND my work too well.
It is hard for me to determine, based on their feedback, whether I’ve hit my target or not because whatever target I’ve hit, and whatever I’ve used to hit it, works for them.
We speak the same language. We finish each others’ sentences. Where I’ve not communicated fully, they are able to fill in the blanks. But will the unknown reader be able to do the same? THAT is the question.
So people who are TOO CLOSE are usually not great choices. They are perfect for the role of confidante, best pal, spouse, etc., just not this. (Yes – easing up – there ARE exceptions.)
* * *
And then there are those whose vision is fine, but they simply can’t bring themselves to speak the truth when the truth is less than glowing.
Years ago, a friend let me go out in front of people without telling me my zipper was unzipped because, she said later, “I felt weird about pointing it out.” Generally speaking, people like this don’t make good OBJECTIVE READERs.
They are, however, people who can and will celebrate your having found one, your having put the manuscript in good order and your having sent it off. And people like that aren’t that easy to find, so hang onto them. Just don’t burden them or frustrate yourself by putting them in a role for which they are not suited.
I rest my case.
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