Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 20:

“I would love to ask someone to read and comment on my work but everyone seems so busy and I don’t want to bother anyone.”

It can be tough to ask people to spend their precious time reading your work.

One way to make it easier for others to do this is to make that reading social.

That is, instead of handing over your prose and asking your reader to get back to you when they have had a chance to read it on their own, arrange an in-person meeting to do so. Schedule a time when you both meet at a café or someone’s home and have them read the work right there and then comment on it. No matter how long the document, don’t have them read for more than an hour. If they don’t get through the whole thing, that’s okay, it’s better to contain the time. They can give their comments while you are eating a meal together or going for a walk.

Be sure to share the Giving Feedback section in Week 6 of the writing workbook with them before they start reading.

You can also do this as a writing exchange and read each other’s work. Tell someone you want their thoughts on your writing, and you are happy to read something of theirs as well. It can be easier to read work when someone else is keeping you company and when you know that it is an exchange. Exchanging writing is often more effective anyway, as your reviewer knows he or she is about to be reviewed and will take care to be kind.

Solution to Writing Obstacle No. 20, one of the human obstacles listed on page 32 of Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (University of Chicago Press, 2019).