Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sharing Your Writing...

Letting someone else see your writing can be a terrifying experience. Fear and anxiety seem to lace the questions in your mind, "Will they like it? Will they hate it? Will they think I'm stupid? Am I stupid?"

But, sharing your writing is CRUCIAL to the process. Everyone needs a "second opinion." Sharing does two things: it gets your material "out there," available for someone else to enjoy - and it gives you an objective opinion on your work, both negative and positive. Trust me. A good reader will not only find the typos you didn't catch (even upon the 100th reading!), but also the blatant inconsistencies you thought weren't there. Example: my mother, who's my "own personal editor," once read a passage in which I had two characters darting under a tree during a storm. "Ummm," she said carefully, "wouldn't the characters run AWAY from a tree in a storm? I don't think a tree is the safest place for them." LOL - duh. I knew that, really I did. But I had been so caught up in writing the all-important dialogue, this key conversation the characters were having during said rainstorm, that I didn't think it through properly.

If you've never shared your work - with anyone - I would strongly encourage you to give it a shot. Writing is such a solitary endeavor - it's easy to shelter yourself inside the safe coccoon of your own thoughts/ideas and never venture out. But, at some point, especially if you ever want to get published, you must put yourself out there and share.

A piece of advice: Be selective with whom you share. Make sure it's someone you trust, and who will give you sensitive, honest feedback. I've chosen my mother because she reads my genre (women's fiction) and knows well what works and what doesn't. And although, yes, she's my mother (which makes her automatically less objective than others), she is still able to give me negative feedback when necessary - which is extremely helpful. In fact, I ask for it. I tell her to be HONEST with me. I don't just want my ego stroked. I want to know what's not working almost more than I want to know what is. Because I can't see past the end of my nose, when it comes to my own writing. None of us can. Which is why we should share. :-)


  1. Very good advice. My mom is my first reader, too, but I need to remind her to be hard on the work (she's way too easy). She *is* great at finding the boring parts.

  2. Thanks, Deb! Cute, that your mom finds the boring parts. My mom does, too. Instantly. The weird/neat thing is that when she points them out, I nod my head -- all along, my "gut" had told me those spots were boring or too long, but I was too stubborn to listen. Thank the Lord for our mom-editors!

  3. Absolutely! Having a trusted person read material can be very beneficial. I once read that when it comes to children's books it's a good idea to read the manuscript aloud to children for their reaction. Do they look bored? Did they laugh? Are their eyes intent on the reader? You can tell a lot.....