Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sharing Our Writing

As writers, we often get very nervous about sharing our work. A cutting critique can frighten us back into our caves while our reaction to praise can occasionally be disbelief. Baring our soul (through our writing) can be a torturous path to walk.

Friends and family may be diplomatic in their response or we can feel their over-the-top reaction of 'wow' or 'well done, this is wonderful' is not heartfelt or earned. On the flipside, if they are critical of our work, we can feel hurt.

Other writers can be incredibly critical because they are approaching our work from the way they write which isn't necessarily the same as ours. Their voice is their own as our voice is individual to us.

Even a professional critique can leave us heartbroken or confused.

The problem is often with our own attitude to our work rather than that of other people. We have invested so much time and emotion in our writing that it has become an extension of ourselves. We want everyone to love it and understand it and appreciate it as much as we do. The problem is that adoration and praise, although wonderful in themselves, are not as helpful as they may seem.

The value of constructive criticism is that it shows us where to go with our writing, which sections work, which don't, which are almost there but need to be improved. That is much more helpful than a "lovely" here or a "well done" there.

If we can remove our emotional reaction from the equation and ask for honest feedback then there really is nothing to fear or lose. At its most useful, feedback will arm us for the next re-write. At the worst, it will inform us that we can't please everyone with our writing.

2 comments:

  1. I'm always nervous about getting feedback, especially from my agent. But it's a necessary part of writing and it only makes us better.

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