So, I've become... there it is... "Established"... I've gotten closer to reaching the coveted status of "Established Writer" because people are coming out of the woodwork asking me to read and comment on their fiction. While I'm flattered, I'm afraid I must decline, without exception these requests. I have a small handful of people whose fiction I will read and comment upon, but unless your initials are S.M., R.G., P.H., or R.L., you do not fall on this list. If you do have the above initials, and we have not had a discussion about me looking specifically your work within the last few months or so, you are also not on this list.
Fist and foremost:
Critiquing a work of fiction takes time, about three times as much as regular reading. Oh, and that's if and I mean IF the manuscript is actually in a stated where it's really ready for someone besides the writer to go over it. I'm not going to go into all the mental gymnastics I go through while looking someone's work over, but it's quite the mental exercise. I don't have the time to give to everyone who asks me. IF I did, I wouldn't have time for my own writing.
You probably aren't ready for me to go over your work. This is not be trying to be snotty, elitist, or a jerk. Yes, one of those rare exceptions where I'm just being honest for honesty's sake. When most people want someone they see as a professional or an authority to look at their writing, they aren't actually looking for honest feedback. They are looking for validation.
Yes, yes. You are the exception. You can take it. Superman has nothing on the thick skin you have when it concerns your writing. Hit you with my best shot. If your thinking anywhere along these lines, then you're really not ready. I have sold my writing for real money. People have shelled out cash on kindle for my work on Kindle. I'm scared to death whenever I put my work out there for someone else to read, especially if I've asked for comments and feedback.
Please don't be offended when I tell you that I cannot validate your writing. I'm still seeking validation myself. The only way to validate your writing is to put it out into the world and let go of it and write something else. Then repeat the process. This is the only real test for the validity of your writing.
Tertiary and finally:
I'm not anyone special, so why are you seeking my approval? Just saying. Write, write, and write some more. Judge your current work against your previous work to see if you are improving. Put it out there into the world, there are more than enough mediums for a writer to find an audience. Traditional publishing is no longer the only show in town.
One last question for those who do go out there and establish themselves as writers: I've got this novel I'm working on, would you take a look at it and tell me what you think?