Ask The Freelance Dude #5 – Feedback Quest


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I’ve been studying journalism for about three years now, and I got a job in layout at a newspaper currently. I want to make the jump in writing (gaming, sports, etc.), but I try to send writing samples to get critiques and advice from different outlets and I don’t get anything back. So, my question is, how can I get some sort of feedback in regards to sending samples to professionals?

Signed,
Tanner L.

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Dear Tanner,

Woah there buddy, stop the presses! (Sorry, always wanted to say that). Your well-intentioned quest for writing feedback from established folks in the industry is both noble and commendable, but you just need to adjust your aim a little. Contacting publications and editors out of the blue and requesting they read your work and offer a critique is like being shouting for help at a passing ship in the distance while you’re stuck on a deserted island. You’re not likely to get heard and even less likely to get any kind of response. They simply don’t have time for that sort of thing – keep in mind that editors get constantly deluged with pitches, press releases, and other correspondence on a daily basis. Hell, it can be tough enough just getting busy editors to respond to legitimate article pitches. It’s better to save your energy and redirect it lower down the totem pole.

Don’t feel discouraged, as there are other places to seek help. You’d be surprised how accessible and friendly fellow writer folks can be. I’d suggest seeking out some of your favorite writers in the gaming industry and connect with them on Twitter or drop them a polite e-mail. While freelance folks tend to be busy, I think you’ll find someone willing to give your samples a quick look-over and offer a few nuggets of feedback. You may not get the same in-depth level of detail you would from an editor who’s getting paid to go over your work, but short-and-sweet feedback can be just useful too. Just be prepared: if you’re requesting honest constructive criticism it might not be all roses and puppies.

Best,
The Freelance Dude

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Follow @nmeunier on Twitter for more writing advice, game industry commentary, and freelance shenanigans.

Have a writing, freelancing, or game journalism related question you’d like answered? No problem! Hop on over here for details on how to submit it to The Freelance Dude!

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