1. Pyloness
    Offline

    Pyloness New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    2

    Making that first leap?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Pyloness, Aug 5, 2014.

    Long time listener, first time caller :)

    I've been writing on and off for a couple of years now, joined some creative writing groups, and built up my confidence a little, but I can't seem to get over the fear of showing other people my work, and getting it out there. Those who have seen it, have said it's great and that I should continue getting it out there, but there's always something that seems to stop me.

    I was just wondering how you all got past that initial hurdle? Did you show it to family and friends first? Did you put some of your writing out online? Did you go down a different route?
     
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  2. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I started writing on a blog, so whatever I had, it was for all to see. I found the feedback from readers very helpful. Whoever you decide to show it, though, you have to be prepared for the worst. As long as you are hanging on to your pride and ego, you'll find showing your work, and especially work in progress, difficult. The thing is, there are some nasty people out there, who will slag anything off, just to make themselves feel better. On the other hand, if an honest review flags up issues, you are so much better off knowing then not knowing.
     
  3. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,723
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Well, you've come to the right place. We have a Writing Workshop here and you can post small extracts (usually not more than about 1,500 words, but that's not a hard limit) of your work there. Other members will then offer critiques.

    We have some rules in this forum. Read the New Member Quick Start Guide and you'll know how things work around here.

    Welcome to the forum! :)
     
  4. domenic.p
    Offline

    domenic.p Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    63
    Swiveltaffy,

    I see you are 25...good age to start writing. Did you know, most of the agents, and publishers are women? They like women who write. Me, I'm a man...I don't like that.
    Before you post anything, do this...this is harder than writing the story: Tell what the story is about in three sentences. Post that. Whatever you do, don't show your family, or friends what you are writing...they will only tell yow great it is, and you don't want that...you want to know things that are wrong so your talent can grow. And yes, you have to also grow very think skin because guys like me will tell you the truth. Even those with talent are bad writers when they start off. I used to Go to Virginia City Nevada every year, and read Mark Twain's reporter work. He was under his real name then...Sm Clemens. That man could not write, but, he was one of the few men in town who knew how to spell. Anything you post is going to be better than he wrote before he learned how to write.

    Do it; Three sentences what the story is about...if you can do that, you will become in time, a very good writer.
     
  5. JamesBrown
    Offline

    JamesBrown Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    79
    From the The Bhagavad Gita

    "The wise see that there is action in the midst of inaction and inaction in the midst of action. Their consciousness is unified, and every act is done with complete awareness. The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results; all his selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge. The wise, ever satisfied, have abandoned all external supports. Their security is unaffected by the results of their action; even while acting, they really do nothing at all. Free from expectations and from all sense of possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not incur sin by the performance of physical action. They live in freedom who have gone beyond the dualities of life. Competing with no one, they are alike in success and failure and content with whatever"

    From Hagakure - The Book of the Samurai

    "If you are caught unprepared by a sudden rainstorm, you should not run foolishly down the road or hide under the eves of houses. You are going to get soaked either way. Accept that from the beginning and go on your way. This way you will not be distressed by a little rain. Apply this lesson to everything."
     
    T.Trian and aikoaiko like this.
  6. Swiveltaffy
    Offline

    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    201
    Location:
    Roanoke, TX
    @domenic.p
    Ha! I didn't realize I posted in this thread.
     
  7. Swiveltaffy
    Offline

    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    201
    Location:
    Roanoke, TX
    Fantastic!
     
  8. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Showing your work to family or friends will not likely be very helpful, because they will either praise it because they want you to feel better, or pan it because it doesn't fit their image of you (or because you have offended a sensibility). In no case will you get what you really need from critique, which is identifying those aspects of your writing that you think are working but in reality are not. I am currently getting comments back from a fellow member of this forum on my historical novel. This person is as well-read in the genre as anyone I know, so she understands what a good historical novel looks like, and as an aspiring writer herself, she is cognizant of the pitfalls that we all struggle to avoid. Her comments have been enormously helpful. And when you get quality critique, it energizes your writing as you make the corrections and find improvements of your own.

    @minstrel mentioned the Writer's Workshop, and I urge you to take advantage of this. The important aspect of the WW is not the critiques you will receive once you are eligible; it's in the fact that you will learn how to critique, and you will thus be able to recognize flaws in your own writing before you ever show it to anyone else.

    Good luck and welcome to the forum.
     
  9. HealSomeBabies
    Offline

    HealSomeBabies Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Nor Cali
    No one gets better by keeping their work hidden.
     
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  10. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,602
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I agree with @EdFromNY and @HealSomeBabies. It depends on who your family members are and your relationship with them.

    I wrote for a while and got a lot of feedback from my critique group before I wrote a chapter I thought was good enough to show my son.

    My son however, is an excellent critic, he knows his stuff. I hope he decides to write one day (he recently had a poem that won a Sherman Alexie flash poetry contest). He liked my chapter, had some good feedback, and ended up being a good sounding board for ideas for the book.

    But my other family members? Umm, maybe when the book is finished. :p

    You need to show your work to someone who can give you feedback you can learn from. It's rare that's going to be a family member unless you have any authors in your family.
     
  11. EllBeEss
    Offline

    EllBeEss Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    108
    Location:
    Perth
    Personally I don't plan on sharing stuff with my friends or family until I'm 100% happy with it myself. Many of my friends take a real interest in my writing and are avid readers but they know I've had self esteem issues in the past and how over emotional about stuff I get (funnily enough I'm not like this with my writing since I want to get it to the best possible standard) so I worry they would either lie to spare my feelings or otherwise not give an honest critique.

    The first people I showed my writing to were close friends when I was around twelve or so and I didn't find it a very beneficial experience. If I could go again I would start by using the internet, since it is more impersonal. If you're very nervous about it you could try putting work you know has a few flaws up (I'm not saying a first draft, just something you're not 100% happy with) since it can often be easier to take critique on something you know has a few issues.
     
  12. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,201
    Likes Received:
    1,786
    Location:
    Australia
    I first showed my stuff by entering a university writing competition. Luckily I won so that spurred me on.
     
  13. AJC
    Offline

    AJC Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    60
    My situation is somewhat similar to yours. I was scared of showing my work to others at first. The only person I showed it to initially was my wife. She doesn't read much science fiction, however, and while I appreciate her praise, it's mostly due to the fact that we're married. I eventually realized that being an author means people are going to read my work, so the best thing for me to do was submit anything I finish. A few months ago, I submitted my first story. I recently found out it was rejected, but it was still a huge confident boost because I proved that I could submit a story without being scared of the consequences. I'm now going to submit it to another magazine. The act of submitting really helped with my confidence and fear issues, so it may help you as well.
     
  14. friendly_meese
    Offline

    friendly_meese Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    34
    For the most part, I've developed a personal rule: never, ever take initiative in asking someone else to read my work. I generally don't even mention that I write fiction unless it comes up naturally in the conversation. If it comes up and I mention it, then anyone interested in reading my work will ask to read it. If they don't ask, they're not interested, and abasing myself into supplicating them to read my work won't get me anywyere. The fact is that nearly everyone in the Western world writes something, even if they write only brief, anonymous blocks of text online, and they're all hungry to have you read _their_ work, which means they have no interest in reading yours. This is the major failing of sites such as DeviantArt, which requires membership in order to post comments, and where the entire prose member base is writers, who are so busy posting their own work that they never bother to read anyone else's. That, sadly, is also a problem with fora such as this one, where the membership is entirely writers who want you to read their work and are therefore unlikely to want to read yours.

    One thing you can do is seek out one-on-one contact with fellow writers, and, if their summary of their work sounds interesting, ask them to let you read it. This scores huge points with most unpublished writers, who are hungry for exposure and haven't learned to manage their hunger yet. If you are genuinely interested in their work and act like it, then they could be disproportionately grateful for the interest you've taken in their work and could ask to read your work in reciprocity. Pay careful attention how such writers respond to any suggestions you make as to how they can improve their work. If they start arguing with you about how their work is perfect just the way it is, then they don't understand reciprocal critique, and you have either to spend the time educating them about it or to walk away and find someone else. But this approach can help you find other, congenial writers who can give you fresh perspective on your work, point out problems with it and even cross-pollinate with you.

    tl;dr rule number one is DON'T BE NEEDY. A needy writer is a cliche and a universal turnoff. Your reluctance to show your work to others is actually a positive, so cultivate it, and be selective about whom you show your work to.
     
  15. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,940
    Likes Received:
    5,473
    I started a blog.

    I started posting in the blog, fairly workmanlike things rather than Inspirations From My Heart or anything. My fried chicken recipe. Perfume reviews. Stuff where the content was more important than the writing, so that I was less stage-frightish about the writing

    Then I opened up the blog so that it was accessible to somebody other than me. :)

    Then I clicked the checkboxes that allowed the search engines to find the blog.

    Then I started putting the blog in my profile for the various places where I comment on things.

    All the while I was blogging. By the time somebody finally read my blog, and made a comment, I was beyond ready for someone to finally do that.

    I got used to people commenting on the recipes and the perfume reviews and such.

    I started writing things that I was fractionally more sensitive about. That went well.

    I finally started posting some fiction. That went well.

    I finally felt the need for some less-congratulatory feedback, and started posting to the Review Room.

    That's where I am now--when I feel twitchy about something, I put it on my blog; when I'm comfortable with the possibility of negative commons, I put it in the Review Room.

    Now I'm trying to wean myself OFF of the need for feedback, so that I can submit things for publication without them all having already been published. :)
     
  16. qp83
    Offline

    qp83 Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    17
    I posted the first stuff I wrote in a contest on this forum, you can look it up if you want, it's called Yellowstone Fairy Tale, you'll find it in the bi-weekly short story contest.

    As for how I dared posting there... well I did it with no positive expectations at all, and I knew it wasn't well-written, I just hoped that maybe someone at least liked the story. Also I only spent a few hours on it, so it wasn't like I was showing my life's work! :p

    I have had very low self esteem for many many years and lots of anxiety, but I've learned to deal with that by stop thinking about stuff so damn much, and just DO. After a while you realize that your mind is most often much more cruel than reality when it comes to things like this.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,602
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I voted for your story in that contest, @qp83. It was quite original. :D
     
  18. Nightstar99
    Offline

    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    136
    I think X Factor shows us that your friends and family thinking you are good at something is no indicator of you actually being so.

    I dont think there is much point writing if you don't want to show it to strangers. Send it off places and see what it comes back as. Rejection letters, money, film offers, unicorns etc.
     
  19. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,821
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I first showed my mother my writing when I was 14. She said "it's fantastic but whose going to read it." Definitely not what I wanted to hear but in a way she's always been right - I don't write for a clear distinctive market. But at the time it hurt so bad I didn't show anyone my writing for years. But I noticed, after several drafts on one story that I couldn't objectively gauge whether or not I was improving.
    I finally decided to face my fear 2 years ago and joined this site. Best move ever!:D

    I was petrified and intimidated. Rather than post anything that I was too attached to, I sat down and wrote a short story ( my first ever ) and posted that. I felt somewhat safe, if they tore the short story apart, I wouldn't feel half as terrible if they tore apart the book I'd been working on for years. But people liked it and gave me good critique. All that worry for nothing!
    But even when the critique feels harsh it's still tremendously helpful, and better yet I can help others out which still benefits me because it's putting me on guard as a reader, keeping me mindful of my audience. Something that can get lost while writing.

    My advice would be - write something that shows your style but you're not too attached to - that way you can take the critiques with out feeling the sting of anyone taking apart a favored project.
     
  20. domenic.p
    Offline

    domenic.p Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    63
    That's because you're only 19, and stuck in TX.
     
  21. Pyloness
    Offline

    Pyloness New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thank you for all your responses, you have all been really helpful and it's reassuring to know people have been in the same boat. I am determined to start trying some of your suggestions :)
     
    GingerCoffee likes this.
  22. Swiveltaffy
    Offline

    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    201
    Location:
    Roanoke, TX
    Your answer sincerely confuses me.
     
  23. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,208
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I will report this to a mod if it looks like you're giving the OP crap. Is this just sarcasm/playing around?
     
  24. Swiveltaffy
    Offline

    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    201
    Location:
    Roanoke, TX
    I'm not the OP, lol. I was merely (accidentally, I imagine) addressed by domenic.p. I imagine he meant to address the OP, not me. To be fair, we exchanged (diplomatically) in a different thread; it is simply a clerical error. I was simply commenting on the slip-up, and his response confused me. No negativity -- in that, I feel none, and I'm sure he wasn't meaning any. If he was, I don't much care. Appreciate it, though.
     
  25. T.Trian
    Offline

    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,246
    Likes Received:
    1,449
    Location:
    Mushroom Land
    It helps if you're ambitious (and maybe a bit cocky too or at least have confidence in your vision). I want to become a great writer, but since at the moment I still suck, I need to do all I can to improve myself, and since I'm driven to get better by my ambition, it's only natural to show my work to others in hopes of learning something from the feedback. I especially hunt for critique, comments on what I'm doing wrong or what I could do better.
    Pats on the back feel good and make me happy, but I don't usually learn as much from them; I already know my strengths so I don't need to be reminded of them, but I don't know all my weaknesses. If I did, I'd fix them, turn them into strengths through study, practice, research etc. In any case, that's where comments from others come in; they see into those blind spots and shed light on the things I've missed. Good beta-readers are invaluable assets, especially those who are honest and tell you what they didn't like, what you could've done better etc.

    I've found the best betas online, most of them from here. It's been kinda necessary since my parents and sibling aren't really into literature and aren't interested in reading my (and @KaTrian's, with whom I write) stories. Then again, it's a good thing since they'd likely just be shocked by the material.

    Anyway, good luck on your endeavor. It's a long, hard, but incredibly rewarding journey. :cool:
    -Fellow Journeyman
     
    Pyloness likes this.

Share This Page