Read & Reflect

For personal feedback on your writing

Read & Reflect - online personal feedback on your writing and editorial feedback. More at Our Story Time ourstorytime.co.uk



Perhaps you’ve written a short story for a competition and you have no idea if it’s any good at all. Perhaps you’ve written your very first article for a magazine and you are nervous to submit it and a little scared of what the editor might say. Maybe you’ve spent what feels like forever writing a long reflective essay and you’re thinking about publishing it on your blog only you’re worried it sounds too navel-gazing or that your expressions aren’t quite what you were looking for. You’ve thought about asking your friend, your sister, your spouse to read it but then you realise that’s not such a good idea. They’ll love it even if it were terrible, you think; or else they won’t get it at all. You worry they might laugh.

This is where I step in.

A personal reader

Read & Reflect is my one-on-one personal reading and feedback package.

I will read your words.

I will never laugh at you for trying or for pouring your heart out onto a page.

I will read without any personal judgement but with a keen and observant editorial eye.

I will tell you what works and what doesn’t work in my honest opinion and I will deliver that opinion gently, without making you wish you’d never even tried to write, because I know what it feels like when feedback cuts hard.

I will offer advice on edits which will help you polish your final piece into something sparkling.

Who is Read & Reflect for?

Read & Reflect is designed for the sort of writer (even if you don’t consider yourself a writer) who has been writing for a while, rather than someone who is experimenting or starting out.

You are confident enough to come up with your own ideas and be alone with both your thoughts and self-imposed deadlines. You are confident enough to sit down and write, but perhaps not quite confident enough to hit publish or submit that piece to where it needs to go. You browse lists of writing awards and wish you could enter but you never do. You’d like to write a book one day and you maybe even started writing a proposal for it but you never got past that stage. You are an ambitious writer even if the word ambitious makes you cringe.

You’re likely to have already completed one of my writing courses already. Perhaps you submitted a piece of prose to me as part of The Quiet Words and you benefited from the one-on-one editorial feedback I gave you then. Perhaps we’ve been Writing Friends in the past and while you may no longer need me week by week, you value my personal feedback and can see the benefit in this on-going. You value some degree of accountability. Perhaps you’re confident enough in your writing to know you don’t need to do a course, but you’d simply quite like to know what I think. You’d value an opinion - my opinion.

Read & Reflect is for you if any of the above feels familiar.

Why choose me to read your work?

Because I have been where you are.

For the longest time, I never showed anyone my writing. As a newspaper reporter and features writer, I wrote for a living but I never showed anyone my more private writing, the short stories or reflective essays, the things I scribbled down in my lunch hour and hid in folders on my desktop or posted secretly on my old blog which I hardly ever told anyone about. I told myself nobody would ever read these pieces anyway. I was convinced they were never any good. I was convinced I was no good.

One day I plucked up the courage to enter a short story competition run by Psychologies magazine. It was the first time I had ever entered my stories anywhere. I came second, my story selected for publication by a fiction editor at Bloomsbury. I may not have won first place, but coming second was enough to boost my confidence. It was enough to make me want to keep writing. I went on to win two more writing awards, have my short stories published in magazines and in an anthology before finally being offered a book deal for my own collection, In Spite of Oceans. In Spite of Oceans went on to win the John C Laurence Award from The Society of Authors and The Authors’ Foundation and be widely and well-received in the national press. I was signed by a distinguished literary agency and I’m now writing my next book.

This might read like a success story to you. I still have a long way to go until I’ll ever believe that. But my point in telling you all this is that self-doubt has always plagued me and sometimes it still does but the more I write, the more I find my confidence.

Sometimes I think: if only I had someone I could have asked to read and reflect upon my work, to offer me feedback when I was just starting out, then perhaps I wouldn’t have lost quite so many years to feeling unworthy of calling myself a writer.



This is why I want to be that person for you. To read and reflect, for you.

Finding something I am good at, writing, has helped me grow. Writing has brought me so much joy and a quiet, inner strength that helps me stay grounded. I would love to be able to pass that along to you.

Testimonials

Meanwhile, here’s what others have to say about working with me on their writing:


I chose to work with you after much reflection and what helped me make that decision was the desire to not only learn how to better distill my ideas and sharpen my writing skills but to do so with a teacher who was compassionate and understanding.
— Aiysha
Huma took me by the hand and walked me into my writing life and into myself. She showed me that I was a writer. That I am a writer.
— Laurie
Huma’s gentle, quiet encouragement and suggestions for looking at things in new and different ways have opened my eyes to the possibilities that are within me.
— Christine

read more testimonials

How does Read & Reflect work?

Read & Reflect is an efficient writing package. There’s no procrastination here.

Purchase the package, and upon purchase I will contact you by email to book you in for your feedback. By an agreed deadline you will email me one individual piece of up to 5000 words. It can be fiction, non-fiction, memoir, a short story, an essay, a blog post, an article - anything except for poetry, book proposals or any academic or corporate writing (like extracts from dissertations, university projects or business write-ups).

I will read your piece thoroughly and then I will send you my feedback within a fortnight. I will not rewrite your work, but I will suggest edits and amends. I will advise on structure. I will comment on your choice of expression and language. If something can be drawn out fully, I’ll suggest you expand. If something feels superfluous, I’ll tell you what I would cut. I’ll consider what works and what doesn’t work subjectively.

You will receive your personal feedback as a Google Document with comments highlighted. You’ll be free to take on board as many of my suggestions as you like and of course, you’re not obliged to do exactly what I say. That choice is your choice - a writer’s choice.

How much does it cost?

Read & Reflect costs £140.

There are 12 spots available for Read & Reflect.

now booking from September 2019