A very common fear for a lot of new (and even advanced) writers is the moment where you share your writing with other people.
Maybe that’s handing over the first couple pages of a novel to your parents or siblings, or submitting a short story for critique in a circle of fellow writers. I know how terrifying that can be! Allowing someone else to read a piece of work that you feel so deeply connected with can be extremely frightening. I have no judgment for people who have procrastinated on sharing their writing for the first time. It’s a big step, but it’s invaluable when you take a deep breath and do it.
So, in hopes of making it a little easier for you, I wanted to share 3 tips on how to work up the bravery to share your writing for the first time!
Let’s dive right in.
Tip #1: Select the Right First Piece
Selecting the first writing piece to share is very important! I think there are two things you should look out for.
The first thing: Is this piece something you’re proud of and think is a high-quality show of your work?
Now, you may be wondering why you should share a piece of work you like. Won’t that cause you to admire it less after it’s been critiqued? Well, in order to grow, you need to pinpoint your mistakes. If you receive critique on a project that you think is high quality, you’ll be able to find the things in your best writing that is weak and learn from that. So choose a piece of writing you are proud of!
The second thing: Is it something too personal, or something you’re not emotionally attached to?
You don’t want to give someone a piece of writing that you’re too attached to, or when you receive critique, it may feel like the person is personally attacking you, and not simply critiquing your writing.
So choose a piece of writing that is high quality, but not something that is terribly personal, so you can see that it is not a critique on you, but just on the writing. Your worth is defined by much more than your art! Remember that always!
Tip #2: Find the Right People
Who are you going to share your writing with for the first time? I think there are some things you should consider.
Are the people you’re sharing with going to be gentle in critique, and fully supportive? You don’t want to give your writing to someone who is going to rip it apart without any mercy (for the first critique at least!). You’re going to want someone who will lift you up while they critique your writing. So make sure whoever you ask is ready to help and critique positively! That doesn’t mean they should never say anything constructive about your writing and point out weak spots, but it should be done in a way that isn’t too hurtful.
And also, are the people you’re sharing with qualified to critique? If you’re simply giving your writing to someone for a quick read and some simple encouragement, people like your parents, siblings, or friends are perfect!! However, if you want someone who will be able to point out weak points in the story, characters, grammar, and more advanced stuff, you’ll probably want to find someone who is qualified to do that. That could be a fellow writer, or a family member who is experienced in good storytelling or has good grammar skills, so they can actually help you.
Tip #3: Remember the Value of Critique
Always always remember the value of receiving critique! Many writers believe that writing is a solitary art form, where you sit in your dark room and never have to see the light of day. For the most part, it may be. But to truly grow as a writer and use your writing to impact others, you’re going to have to step out of your shell and share your writing with others. And the only way to grow is to have a second pair of eyes on your work, giving you critique on things you would never have noticed yourself! So don’t be afraid to take that step. Remember how important critique is when you’re gathering the courage to share your writing.
I hope that these tips were helpful to you, and now I encourage you to go forth and share your writing! Yes, it can be scary, and it may seem easier to keep your writing to yourself, but sharing your writing is so helpful, and if you can impact someone positively with your words, it is well worth sharing!