A couple of things recently have reminded how much now I take being able to get feedback on something I've written for granted.
For most of the time I've been attempting to write, certainly to write fiction, I've managed to link up with other people who are equally happy to read and comment. Whether it was in say an Arvon week away, or a Milford week for those already published, by post, online like my BSFA Orbit groups, even in more regular face-to-face meetings like NorthWriteSF, there have been others in the same boat as me to exchange reactions with.
And aren't those reactions a help, sometimes a salvation.
Currently I'm rewriting a draft manuscript to completely change the setting/world it has strayed into [while I obviously wasn't looking!]. If I'd stopped to think I could have told myself it wasn't the right one; it didn't match the backstory the I knew, that wasn't actually on the page? But no, I let language carry me away - to the wrong destination as it were. Luckily for me someone else woke me up and made me rethink; Why that language style? Now, good or bad, the story will at least be what it should be.
In another instance, I recently looked over a rough draft for someone else. One look told me there had not been any real feedback - other perhaps than from friends and family - to pick up on the fact that however good an idea it was the presentation, the writing, wasn't yet technically sound. What, I hear, no feedback? No carping comments? No overview? It must be like working blindfold.
So to the first category: many thanks. I do appreciate you guys, a lot, even if I don't say it as often as I should?
And to the second category: my feedback is as honest [Honest.] as that of all the people I regularly get feedback from on my own work. I expect no less and try to give no less. Anything else is a waste of space, after all. So if I don't say quite what you wanted to hear, well, there's probably a reason, and it'll [probably] help you become a better writer.