Last week I talked about bad writing and in that blog I suggested you work with a writing coach or have a critique partner read it. That is really important in writing. You need to get feedback from other people in order to improve your writing. What I didn’t address was the fear many writers have about letting others read their work.
When I speak at conferences, and to a lesser extent with my clients, I often find people who say, “You are the first person other than my [best friend/spouse/parent] who has ever seen anything I’ve written.” To be honest, sometimes this makes ME nervous. Suddenly it is my words that could encourage a person to keep writing or make them decide to never write again. This is a VERY daunting position. What I say will have a huge impact on this person.
Other times, I see it as a wonderful opportunity to mentor a new writer who is just starting out.
I cannot give you three steps to make showing your work to others easy. This is just one of those things that you will have to do if you’re going to become a writer. In fact, this NEVER gets easy. If anything it gets harder. Sorry guys, can’t sugar coat this for you. If you want proof, go on Amazon and look at books with 1 star ratings. Then looks at some of the VICIOUS things people write up there. The criticism is much more public than it was when just that writer and a good friend were drinking coffee and talking about their work. The only way to do it is to expose your writing to criticism, learn to take the constructive criticism and toss the meanness.
If you want a way to move in to this smoothly I suggest starting to submit work to writing contests with the purpose of getting feedback rather than winning. This is a safe, private way to start to learn to listen to others. Find the bigger contests so you have anonymity and a higher likelihood of people who are professional writers and not just members of a writing club.
Then go to a critique group and/or hire a professional CONTENT EDITOR [not grammar, but story development].
Then start to pitch your writing. If you’d like help on pitching it to editors this short audio is only $1.99 and you can download it right now using this link.
It is a process, but like anything else difficult the sting softens over time.
Best of luck and keep sending your questions!