Like many unfortunate others, I possess what is possible the very worst trait there is for a writer: I am self-conscious about it. I hate sharing my work, particularly when I feel as though I haven’t had time to properly refine it or if it’s based on a prompt that I am not that comfortable with. I have very few insecurities, but when my writing gets personal (which it often does), it’s tough for me to let people see it.
Because writing is so variable, it’s possible that I could turn out something brilliant, or I could turn out something awful, based on what my mind is like at the time. Even when I’m done, I often don’t know if what I have is good or if it’s garbage. And when I do think I have something good, that adds another kind of pressure: if I know something I’ve written is bad, I’m not too concerned about what the feedback is going to be. But if I have something I’m proud of, I’m much more nervous about being told that my “good” writing is actually terrible. Of course, this never actually happens, because a lot of writers are in a similar position and understand that everybody has their good and bad days with writing.
This hesitation is much worse when sharing my work with people who are not consistent writers. When someone wants to see a piece that I’ve written, there’s a certain expectation that comes along with the label of being a “writer” (whatever that definition may entail). When people hear that I’m in the writing minor, they want to read my work and compare it to theirs. People want to see how your writing is special, what makes your work better than theirs. Of course, they don’t actually care that much, but I still feel as though my work reflects on me more as a person when it’s being read by someone who’s not just assigned to critique it.
I am well aware that the best way to gain experience and skill as a writer is to have your work critiqued, so I do try very hard to get over my fears of sharing. I remind myself at this point in my life and my career as a writer, I am still very much a novice. I know for a fact that 90% of what I produce will be pretty bad, so it’s not a big deal. Also, when I worry about what other people might think of my work, I tell myself to think about other people’s work that I’ve read in the past. I can’t think of a single one – despite my bashfulness when sharing, in the back of my head I know that people are too concerned with their own work to bother dwelling on mine.
Do you get nervous when you’re sharing your work? How do you get over it?