How to Get Professional Feedback on Your Writing 

O’Dell Isaac was a substitute teacher and military journalist who struggled for years to write a novel. A decade went by without any progress towards writing or publishing a book. Then, in November of 2018, he managed to write 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month.  

He was proud and excited about his draft, but it wasn’t something he felt ready to submit to an agent. His draft, though finished, sat in his home unattended as he was at a loss about his next steps in his writing career. 

When O’Dell stumbled upon the Writing Gym, I asked him: “What’s next?” 

O’Dell realized that he had no real direction about what to do with his writing now. Finishing a novel is a great accomplishment, but his work does not stop there. Revising a draft is an important part of creating a publishable novel. 

We had a long conversation about his future writing plans and goals. Through our conversation, he discovered what he wanted for his novel and his writing future. After talking about what steps would help him achieve his goals, O’Dell accepted my invitation to join the Writing Gym.

At the Writing Gym, O’Dell found the guidance and support he needed to grow as a writer and make forward progress. He discovered the value of having access to trained writing professionals who could instruct him with what to do, when, and why, in order to improve his craft. We gave him the tools–in the form of constructive and positive feedback–that helped him realize how to use those same tools to his advantage.

The great thing about the Writing Gym is the accountability of having someone get you to work out every day and to have those same people comment on your results. It’s one thing to want something, but it’s another to have a plan—a concrete plan with steps to take.

O’Dell also received encouragement from our writing professionals and fellow writers in the program. He has the opportunity to get together with other writers and share his progress with them. With the support coming from the Writing Gym, O’Dell has grown in confidence both as a writer and as a person.

What I think the biggest benefit that I’ve gotten from this is just a self-belief that I never really had before. I really believe, when I see those names at the bookstores and the library, that my name is going to be up there next to those names. I never really felt that before, but I do now. 

Since joining the Writing Gym, O’Dell has become a professional writer and received his first byline with the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper. 

You’ve been writing for years and years and years and you haven’t gotten any further. What should you do? Find someone, find someone who’s in the business, who’s credentialed, put your trust in that person. and do what they tell you. It’s what you do at a gym. If you want to get in shape, you find this personal trainer, you put your trust in that person, then you do what they tell you to do. The Writing Gym is very much like that.

If you are struggling to make progress in your writing, or lack the confidence and direction to move forward with your writing and publishing goals, the Writing Gym may be the right fit for you. I’ve opened some time over the next couple of weeks to talk with writers who are serious about their craft. You can book yourself directly into my calendar, and we hop on a call to talk about where you are, where you’d like to go, and how you can get there.

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