The year was 2008 and I volunteered to be one of the writers for an inspirational book.
By January 2009, I had written a huge chunk of everything that was asked of me. All that I needed to do was make the last two edits then pass it. I still had quite some time—say about ten days—before the deadline so I was really in no hurry.
I casually mentioned this in one of my exchanges with my best friend.
Some time before that conversation ended, he took it upon himself to read what I wrote before passing it the actual editors. He’s not a writer himself but his perspective might just clarify my sight, maybe even let me see what I have overlooked. His term for what he was about to do: beta reader.
He came over right after his classes for the afternoon ended. He regaled with his tale about how—to get to our house via a shortcut—he had to pass through a squatters’ area. My father told him to never to do that again because he might run into trouble there.
While we had dinner, we poured over 30 articles. All in one night!
Admittedly, he was right. There are terms that I use which I presumed that my supposed readers would already know of. If I stuck myself with those, I might bore them or lose them altogether. He spoke from experience since some of the things that I wrote just flew over his head. And I had to explain myself and my articles a lot to him.
Even if I never asked for it and would never have thought of it, I’ve always been glad that my best friend wants to help me.