Twin Moment

Writers. Twins. Biologically unrelated. Laughing at
ourselves (and each other), listening to amazing
music, and living life epically. We present, our blog.
Prepare to be astounded.

The Strength to Share

This post is kind of about me, personally, and my writing journey. In particular, something I struggle with, and often stands between me and growing as a writer, I think. As I just announced the winner of a first-chapter-plus-query-letter critique over on Write On!, it got me thinking about critiques in general, and how I am -- wait for it -- afraid to share my work.

Not afraid to be critiqued, mind you. Official critiques, I'm okay with. I've been toughening my skin for years, thanks to some really important people in my writing life. While it'd be lying to say that it doesn't hurt anymore for me to hear that my character is unlikeable or my story is plotless -- I've had my fair share of pouting and discouragement, for sure! -- I will say that I've come a very long way. The prospect of having my work torn to shreds doesn't really daunt me.

Or does it?

Because here I am, facing this problem: I don't share my work. Can't. Won't. If you ask me: "Oooh, when will you be done? Can I be first to read it!?" I'll probably hem and haw some noncommittal answer, and you'll probably never see a paragraph.

I do realize this is a problem. And I've given it lots of thought.

Why don't I want to? 

Why is it so hard?

While digging around in my thoughts and actions, I've come up with this answer: It's not that I'm afraid of critique, necessarily, but rather, I'm afraid of a label. In particular, a "this is the best she can do" label. A sort of rejection, if you will. I don't want you to look at my work, today, and judge that as the best I can do. Because, whether it actually is or isn't, for whatever reason, I'm anxious to prove to you that it's NOT. That I will do better next time. Can do better. Simply must do better.

So just wait 'till next time, I say. Wait until the next novel. It will be good enough for you to read, then.

Of course, it never is. No sooner am I done with the next novel, I'm also in a hurry to bury it in a drawer somewhere and guard it, so not a word escapes.

This is my predicament, and it bothers me. I want to have a tough skin, in the sense that I can finish a manuscript and simply let a friend read it-- no big deal, right? I want to be able to let anyone read my work, faults or no, and trust that they'll understand I'm a learning, growing writer. We all are, after all. J.K. Rowling is still learning. Suzanne Collins is still learning. I sincerely hope that Stephenie Meyer is learning-- a lot. *cough* (Couldn't resist.)

Which brings me to the part where I implore for your advice and thoughts. What do you suggest I should do to kick myself out of this stuck place? Should I just send people my work without a second though, and be vulnerable? Let me know in the comments. We have tea, hot chocolate and big squooshy chairs down there. You should stay a while.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Best part of today: The cool morning!
Currently craving: A coffee-based drink.
Music pick: "Love" by Im Jae Bum
I'm reading: "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris
WIP: Drafting Survival (16,068 words)

7 epic comments:

I think I get where you're coming from. I feel kind of the same way, especially in regards to my real life friends who hear I'm a writer and want to read my novel.

My novel's not up to MY standards yet, let alone anyone else's.

To an extent, I think it's alright to hold back, say, a rough draft. Because it's ROUGH. It's supposed to be. It's where you hashed out your own ideas. It's where you wrote the story, before worrying about how it would be recieved.

I'm holding back my rough drafts, because I know they're not ready for others. I've actually shared rough drafts now, and impressed the non-writers who read it, but I regret it now. Because I KNOW it wasn't my best. I want to hurry up and finish this rewrite so they can see how much better I've gotten...

*sigh* Anyway. Just wanted to say, I know how this feels. I don't think you have to feel guilty about holding back rough things... But when you have something more polished, then share it and see what they think(?). :]

Okay, this comment's super-long. Whatever. *hits Publish*


Hey…where's the tea?? XD

Hmm…tough question. I guess my philosophy is that it's hard, but it has to be done—as long as it's the right person. I know that for me, about 85% of my growing as a writer has been based on outside feedback. There IS such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen, but this writerly growing process isn't meant to be done in solitary, I think.

I'd say send it to one person you know will be kind and thoughtful and help you grow—someone with experience who will be honest with you, but that you also know has your best interest in mind. And maybe give your work to an alpha reader at the same time, someone who maybe doesn't have a lot of experience and will be there to cheer you on and point out all the good. That way, you'll have insight into what you need to do to better your work and grow as a writer, but you also have a list of all these things you're already doing well, so you don't get too down on yourself. =)


Um, YES. You have sagely identified the problem. You have admitted that it IS, in fact, a problem. So the kick in your butt needs to come from YOU.

Nobody can force you to share your work. Nobody can MAKE you crawl out of your protective little shell. Only YOU can do that. Only your own feistiness, tenacity, and gumption can do that.

If you don't get your work out there, you will forever stagnate. And that would be a travesty. Because I, unlike many, have had the privilege of reading your work. I have seen your sparkling potential. I have marveled at your ability to worldbuild (my GOODNESS what a gift you have!).

No tender caresses, no bribes of chocolate. Just some tough love: STOP HIDING AND GET YOUR WORK OUT THERE.

I absolutely NEED to see you on the shelves one day!


Oooh, Twin. *big giant warm hug* I know it's scary. Like Robot––I feel the same way, about RL people. Giving my story to family? I wanted to die. I don't even want to know IF they are reading it because if they're reading it they know how absolutely awful I am. O_O
But I sent it.
And you can too. Listen to Amanda. Get an experienced writer to read for you. And an alpha reader. (I VOLUNTEER. I AM THE BEST ONE-GIRL SUPPORT TEAM EVER. [Kidding. Partly. I do volunteer, but despite my caps lock, don't take it as pressure. Maybe ask TBF to?]) Start small. Don't send it out to ALL the people. Just one or two. And then another, eventually. Take it slow––just don't use "take it slow" as an excuse to not share at all.

*hugs again* I'm proud of you for acknowledging this, Twin.


@SP Thank you so much! I think you're definitely right about the rough drafts thing. I'd never send a first draft! (Used to send them to my mom. Bless her heart! She's always been my cheerleader anyway. Gotta love moms!) But you're right-- I should send polished drafts. Thank you!!

@Amanda You can have tea if you want! *makes some* There. :D And your wisdom amazes me as always. You're right-- there is such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen. Yeah. You're just basically right. Thank you!

@Authoress Wow! You read & commented?? *honored* Thank you! Such inspiring words. I feel like I should tape them above my desk. ^^ Thank you so much. I hope you will!

@Twin *hugs back* It IS scary. And I'm still so impressed that you sent it to all those people! You're right. (As I keep saying in reply to each comment...) I would LOVE for you to read for me! I think posting this and reading the wonderful comments has given me the strength I need to send you something of mine. *deeep breath* *hugs again, too* I love you, Twin!

Thank you everyone, so much!


Hey guess what. I'M GONNA COMMENT. Because I don't comment enough and I have stuff to say about this. :-P

I actually don't have this problem. I used to, to some extent, but I'm now at a point where I hate NOT sharing what I write. Part of the reason I love to write is that I have stories that I want to share with other people. If they were just for myself, I wouldn't have to write them down. I write so that everyone can enjoy them.

But I don't share my writing with anyone. My family has hardly read anything I've written, for example, as well as many other people who have wanted to read what I've written. And the reasons for that are actually the same as why you're uncomfortable letting people read what you write. I feel like what I've written just isn't good enough yet, that I can do better. Which is something I'll have to overcome later (though honestly at this point I don't think I'll have much trouble doing so).

The difference is, the people who I show my writing to are all fellow writers. They're all people who have written or are writing books. And because of that, I know that when I tell them "It's just a first draft," or "I know it needs a lot of edits, but..." they'll know exactly what that's like. And they won't assume this is the best writing I can possibly produce or that I think it is. They're as familiar with the writing process as I am. Everyone's first drafts are terrible, every writer knows this from experience. So when other writers read stuff I know isn't perfect by any means, I know that they know why, and that they're able to see past the imperfections of the clumsy uneditedness and see the awesome ideas below.

So yeah. I know it's a hard thing to get past, but remember if it's other writers you're sharing it with, they know that it's not perfect, and they're not going to judge you on that. They know how this writing thing works.

Soo yeah. There's my long comment. Hope it helps. ^_^


@Andre Sorry it took me so long to answer your comment... but just know it's meant a lot to me! First that you took the time to comment (hahah) and second because ... well, you just hit the nail on the head.

So, thank you! It DID help. Immensely!


Post a Comment

Comments! They make our hearts sparkly. Feel free to leave LOTS. We're all for comment spam-age.