In the previous two posts of this series, I touched on the fears writers have that may keep them from sharing their work and how to deal with the different kinds of feedback and criticism. This time around, I want to focus on answering the original question, which was how to work up the courage to display your writing to people on the Internet. Some of the replies answered along the same lines as I would.
First, I would start small. Find someone you trust to be your beta reader, someone who is going to provide you solid feedback that helps you to improve your work. If you can find more than one person and have a small group of writer support, that would be great, too.
Believe it or not, after revising my work, I feel more confident that it’s in better reading shape than before I’ve made any changes to it. Having feedback from other writers or readers helps you to polish your work. And once you’ve polished your work into something you’re proud of, it’s not so scary to post it to a larger audience later.
If you have the opportunity, try to take a writing workshop in your community or in your school. This was a mandatory part of my writing degree and it really helps to work up your confidence. It really helps to learn that most of the other people taking the class are as nervous as you are when it comes to sharing writing! Plus, the act of giving and listening to other writers’ feedback helps you to develop an eye for better self-editing and makes you a stronger writer over all.
Join or create a writer’s critique group online. This is similar to the writing workshop idea. I’ve considered founding one of these in the past, but have just lacked the time to get something like that off the ground.
Once you have a bit of confidence, try something a little larger. Join a writer’s online forum that allows you to post and critique work or ask for help. This can be a place to step it up some by sharing your writing in a writing section of a forum for only the forum community. Once you get feedback there from multiple people, and continue honing your work, you’ll find yourself becoming less and less nervous about showing your work.
Join public RP groups if you enjoy role play online. This helps you to write and share your writing with other people and become less nervous to display your real writing over time. Basically, anything that makes you flex your public writing muscle will over time give you confidence.
Just keep in mind to choose your editors, groups and forums wisely. As with anything online, there will always be a few people who come around just to hurt other people’s feelings and cause drama. This is when you have to go back to determining if an individual’s feedback is worth letting your feelings get hurt, or is genuinely something that can make your writing stronger.
What other things have you done to work up your courage in showing your writing online?
Do you have any experiences with writing groups, and if so, any suggestions on how to find them, what to look for, or what to be careful of?