Consistency may be the key to starting a writing/creating habit, but feedback is the reward that sustains it. The way to improve at writing is a feedback loop and connection with the target audience.
That is what I wrote on my "landing page" for this Writing Feedback Group experiment I ran about a year ago. Below is rest of the text, before asking interested people to fill out a Google form. 38 people filled out the form. I ran the group for 5 weeks and half dozen people came to the live meetings and few more participated async (in the spreadsheets I made)
Writing Feedback Group: the vision is to have a group of people meet weekly for a fix duration (6 to 8 weeks). During each live session, we read each other's writing and provide written feedback (e.g in a google doc with author shared custom questions they want answered like "is my copy convincing", "did I make my point", "is my explanation clear" etc.).
It's for people who've been writing but now want to iterate and improve their writing and get the reward of reader feedback.
I am writing about this today because I'm wondering if I should do a take #2 of this project at some point in the coming weeks.
I put a decent amount of thought and work into it. But I never did figure out if I could or should make it a paid thing. If I did that, it would help justify time/effort. So how would I do it? Here are some notes on what I would change from last time:
- Make the live sessions more interactive. Could be discussion on a specific struggle. Could be presentation on main takeaways from books such as "On Writing", "On Writing Well", "The Boron Letters".
- Narrow the participants to more indie founders
- Make the writing themed. So instead of anything goes, it would be more for business writing. Marketing content, cold emails, copy for landing page, or personal blog or newsletters
Not sure if I will do this. But there is something to this idea. I thought so at the time too. And it makes sense logically, the promise of getting feedback on what you write is naturally appealing. Also I recently learned of two products/writing communities that do something like this: Foster and WriterBloc. Haven't looked into exactly how these work but someone said Foster was 'expensive'. So evidence that people already do pay to improve their writing/get feedback, etc.
The other thing that was cool about this project is that I dreamed it up (the concept, the format, the logistics everything) and then got to see it come to life. Just went and did it, that was a cool feeling which I had forgotten about.
Materials I created (for reference later)
- Spreadsheet to use during live sessions to organize everyone's writing links and also track who is giving feedback on which pieces.
- Google docs template with the writing as well as feedback questions and spots for each reader to enter their answers/comments so the author can have all the feedback in one place.