“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.”
― Walter Anderson
This post speaks to the issue of sharing your work with others. I know, I know. You write for the satisfaction of having created something from the sheer fabric of imagination. You want to see what materializes from the vapor of pure imagination, and if the story burning in your heart and mind can be told, understood, and shared.
Unless you take the leap of faith and share your story with others you will never know. Remember, it is a leap of faith. As creators of fiction we are timid in sharing our story for fear of our “baby” being deemed ugly. And keep in mind, not every one will love your story. Some may even dislike it. But the stories we write are not for others, but rather for ourselves and those who can identify with the story we need to tell.
Sometimes the most difficult people to trust with a story is our family and friends, who may feel compelled to tell us our stories are wonderful. The people we love, and who love us, often feel compelled not to criticize, even in a constructive way. They don’t want to hurt our feelings when we truly desire to hear their thoughts in hope of finding our way onto the path of success. So who do we turn to?
Sometimes we need to approach and engage strangers to help us judge the merits of our work. We need to be selective in the approach, seeking out readers who will and can give constructive feedback. This method will more likely ensure assistance in a forward motion rather than annihilate our hopes and dreams.
Beyond that we need to listen. Often, authors who are overly sensitive complain of being unfairly criticized. “They just didn’t get me.” “No one understands what I’m trying to say.” Do we stop to consider that we, as writers, aren’t making our intentions clear? That editing, and possibly re-writes are in order?
Not every writer is fortunate enough to have a mentor. Not every writer can approach a critic–and every potential reader is a critic–and find the help her/she requires. We have to trust sometimes that the criticism we hear, especially commonly repeated criticisms, are true. When these criticisms are repeated, we need to assume they may be true. Trust your judgement.