"Should I Share My Writing?" Part Two: Maybe

Last week, I began a series about sharing your writing with other people. We started with reasons why not to share your writing, and if you missed that post you can check it out right here.
Obviously, sharing your work is a decision that every person makes depending on their own situation and confidence level. So let's take a look at some of the reasons why you should maybe share your writing with others.

1. It's the second or third draft/mostly complete
I say second or third, but I really mean any draft but the first. As I said in the "Not Yet" post, first drafts aren't meant to be great, and they usually aren't meant for any eyes but your own. Drafts after that, however, are potentially good to let others read. Potentially, meaning it's up to you! Some writers are comfortable with letting someone read their second draft, others like to wait until the work is mostly finalized. Take a look at yourself and see where you fall, and never ever feel pressured to share your writing too soon--or even at all.

2. You are more secure/comfortable with letting someone see mistakes
If you're thinking about letting someone read an unfinished, half-edited project, make sure you are secure in your writing and feel okay with letting people see mistakes--because odds are, they will find mistakes. I once let a few friends take a look at a half-edited draft of my book, and they found mistakes that I would have never caught. Had I been a little younger (or not known these friends as well) I would have probably been embarrassed. But, I had given these friends the chance to read my work knowing that they would find mistakes, so instead I thanked them for their help and fixed everything. Are you okay with someone finding mistakes (big or small), or will that embarrass you?

3. You want people to read it, but you're nervous they won't like it
This is a super difficult conundrum many writers face when trying to decide whether or not to let someone read their work. Sometimes you can feel deep inside of you that you need to let fresh eyes look at your writing, but the idea of that is scary--so scary that you talk yourself out of it. In this case, it's good to give yourself a push and put yourself out there. Post that poem online. Let your friend read your short story. Give your mom your entire manuscript to read. As scary and nerve-wracking as it is, if you're ready, then do it!
When I was first working on my book, I was really stuck on the first chapter. I knew that (despite the fact that it was a first draft) I needed someone else's opinion to assure me that the first chapter was okay and I could move on. So, I finally worked up enough courage to let my mom read chapter one. It was easily the most nerve-wracking thing I had done, and I was even a little nauseous while waiting for her to read it because I was so afraid it wasn't any good. But, she loved it! And while yes, she's my mom and she will probably love anything I write, that positive feedback gave me enough encouragement to move on with the rest of the book. So ask yourself: am I feeling nervous because I want them to like my writing, or because I know deep down my work isn't ready for other eyes?

All three of these instances very much depend on who you are as a person and where you are with your writing and your confidence, hence why this part is titled "maybe." Hopefully asking yourself some of these questions will help you determine whether or not you're ready to share your work. And if you're still not sure, check back on Thursday for the final post in this series to know when the answer is "go for it!"

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