As we all know, there are many difficult and challenging aspects to encounter in the process of writing. Perhaps one of the most difficult is sharing your work. There comes a time, when you have done all you can in the area of editing, that you need to pass your carefully crafted words on to someone you trust to read. Even if you have not done any editing, you may want to show someone your work to see what they think of it so far. A trusted friend’s eye can be incredibly beneficial. Often we, as writers, are too close to our own work. We can’t see the gaps in the plot, or the places where our characterization could be improved. But someone else, acting only as a reader, can spot these things for us and provide feedback.
I have often struggled with sharing my work with others. It has actually been quite a while since someone else has read my writing. I used to get plenty of peer feedback when I was in college, but it can be hard to find that same support network once you’ve graduated. So while you’re still in school (if you are), then make use of your classmates and give them feedback in return.
Although it can be tough to share our work, as I’ve said it can be very helpful. On his website, the author Austin Kleon has posted 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered, which is an excerpt from his latest book, Show Your Work! Tip number three on his list is, I think, especially good and it really forces us, as writers, to get out there into the real world.
Kleon says, “Once a day, after you’ve done your day’s work, find one little piece of your process that you can share. Where you are in your process will determine what that piece is. If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you. If you’re in the middle of executing a project, write about your methods or share works in progress. If you’ve just completed a project, show the final product, share scraps from the cutting-room floor, or write about what you learned.”
I like this piece of advice because it doesn’t necessarily force us to show our actual writing to someone if we’re not ready. If you are ready, by all means get out there and find yourself a beta reader! But at first, as you’re just beginning a piece, it might be helpful to shoutout on social media the fact that you’re starting something new. Maybe tweet about what made you start writing. Make a Facebook post about something that has helped you stay on track. Share the fact that you’re writing and people will likely begin to ask you what it is you’re working on. Happy writing!
– Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan