Get some medical insurance. Seriously. Don't screw around. Save money from your regular job, marry someone with a good plan, find someone who looks exactly like you, has a health plan, but doesn't get sick much, something
. If insurance is too expensive, keep working and writing and working at selling writing until it isn't.
If you gave a real writer a choice between honest, intelligent feedback or oral sex, they'd choose the feedback. Because they can get oral sex by themselves, and if it happened all the time they'd never get any writing done. If that sounds like misplaced priorities, well done on not being a writer. (Although I can confirm that "both" is still the best choice.)
You can't get honest feedback in the real world. Anyone you're showing your work to already knows you, and knows you're just starting out, and that you've put weeks of work into that piece. (If you haven't, don't be bothering your friends and family with that first-draft crap.) No matter how much you insist they should be honest, they know they have to deal with you for the foreseeable future. They ARE NOT going to tell you how bad it sucks, launching into a detailed blow-by-blow of exactly why, because that's something people only do to people they hate.
AND YOUR CHARACTERIZATION LACKS DEPTH!
I found one person prepared to give honest feedback when I sucked and praise when I didn't, so I married her. But since she's taken, now you you'll need the Internet. (Once you're working as a writer, this can change. My friends now know that honest feedback really helps me. And since I aim to write for devastatingly handsome and witty people, they're the perfect test audience. Hi guys!)
This is Commenters Part 2: The Trollening, because like any unnatural monster, they come back at the end when you thought you'd already dealt with them. And again, they're brilliant. People online have absolutely no interest in you as a human being. Many seem incapable of thinking that way, so they're honest. If 99 percent of all comments are hateful and stupid, it's only because 99 percent of people honestly are, and instead of being a nightmare, it means the 1 percent that remains is genuinely valuable.
Because when someone comes out of the Internet woodwork to say something positive, that's worth infinity million. They had no reason to claim they liked your stuff. They'd already read it and enjoyed it, and instead of darting to another site like a comedy one-night stand, they took several online seconds (which could have been spent on porn or talking to people they actually know) to tell you that. And when your work wins out over fake genitals and real people, that's praise.
In places like the