Needing Readers

In my classes, as well as in my career as a “communications guy,” I stress the requirement that all written pieces be read by one or several people prior to submission or publication. My friend, the scholar Jonathan Mayhew, has a preference regarding *when* his bright eyes are called upon:

There are two schools of thought about this. Mine is that you should only share work that is done, in ‘penultimate’ form. Giving someone a “rough draft” verges on the insulting. Moreover, it puts the reader in an awkward position. Should I point out rather obvious lapses that the writer could easily catch herself? Or should I assume that he really needs help with some basic issues? I have to guess at what needs commentary and what doesn’t. I don’t want to waste my time with issues that the writer already knows how to fix, with the possibility of insulting him, but I don’t know which is which. Does the writer have problems with organization, or did she give me something before she bothered to organize it? You should only share with me a smooth draft.

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