1. naive

    naive New Member

    Apr 5, 2015
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    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by naive, Apr 5, 2015.

    After demonstrating a degree of tenacity just to register on this site, I'm now thinking it might simply just be avoidance tactics. I'm very new to this and am interested to know how you get over that horribly exposed feeling that comes with showing anyone something you've written. It really does feel like you've revealed your soul to a stranger (even if it's a close loved one). In short, how do I know if I'm any good and it's worth continuing?
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    You can make it a bit easier by not identifying too closely with any individual piece of writing. You're not showing your work to others to find out if you're any good, you're just trying to figure out if that one individual piece is any good.

    Maybe it would be easier to start with something totally experimental. Don't share the work of your heart; share something from your head. Like, write the same scene from three different POVs, or pick a random writing prompt from somewhere and work on it.

    And do work on it. Make whatever it is as good as you can, and then show it to people and see what they think. If they're critical, they're just talking about this one experiment, not about you as a writer.

    Might that work?
  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    Puerto Rico
    This. The goal is to improve you as a writer, not just one piece of writing. You cannot practice and train for a marathon within the marathon itself. It's many runs across months or years, up city streets, through neighborhoods, around the track, and then you register for the marathon.
    TheWingedFox, BayView and Megalith like this.
  4. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    As BayView said, I think it's important and good to realise that critique on any piece is just a critique on that particular piece of work, and not your overall skill as a writer.

    As long as you're improving, you can only win. Is your goal to be praised, or to become a skilled writer? Focus on that goal. Realise that not everyone liked even Shakespeare or Kafka. See every critique as an opportunity to learn. The Chinese has a saying, which goes like this - when someone critiques you or gives you advice, they are "putting money in your pocket".

    Cus here's the thing - so what if your piece sucked? Does one crappy piece mean you're gonna be crap forever? Well, not unless you stop writing. As long as you keep writing, and keep learning, you'll keep improving. This means just because one piece didn't turn out right doesn't mean other pieces won't. Enjoy the journey. You can't fail as long as you keep writing.

    And another piece of good advice I've heard - it was actually about learning languages as opposed to writing, but this polyglot said this: "If your aim is to make no mistakes, then by not speaking, you have achieved your goal. Horray! Is that what you really want though? But I make it my goal to make X number of mistakes per day - because as long as I'm making mistakes, it means I'm using the language!"

    I think the same can be applied to writing. If your aim is never to write any crap, then the only way to achieve that is by not writing. But if your aim is to be a good writer, then you're gonna make mistakes and write some crappy stuff, and that is a good thing because it means you're writing. If you're writing, then you're practising, and if you're practising, then you are also learning and improving.

    And as long as you're always moving forward, what does it matter how many times you may have failed in the past?

    So how do you get over that nervous feeling when you show someone your work - I think by realising that mistakes don't mean failure, criticism doesn't mean you suck, and in fact getting that criticism is a good thing. Making mistakes is a good thing. By changing your focus - you're not here to create the perfect piece. You're here to learn and improve and make the story the best story you can. So it doesn't matter if the reader didn't like it - find out why, and learn, and by learning you've succeeded because you've achieved your goal.

    Last thing to bear in mind. Just because someone didn't like your writing - it's not a judgement on you as a person. It's not a value assessment on your beliefs, values, and identity. They're judging the story, not you. Your story and you as a person - your value as a person - are two very, very separate things.
    Komposten and BayView like this.
  5. Lance Schukies

    Lance Schukies Active Member

    Apr 1, 2015
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    write what you like to read. there might be people who like what you write and there will be people who do not like what you write, but unless you trick them they usually keep their opinions to them selves.
  6. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Ohio, USA
    Adding to what others have said...Sharing your writing gets easier. And remember, what you've written is an early draft, certainly not a final one. It won't be perfect. Heck, nothing completed is ever 'perfect.' For me, it's the best that I could produce at the time. Finally, remember that even the best works--classics, very popular pieces, have readers that don't enjoy them.

    I know, sounds easier said than done. But here? This forum is a good place with folks interested in seeing others grow and improve. Glad you joined us here, Naive.
    BayView likes this.
  7. sprirj

    sprirj Senior Member

    Feb 2, 2009
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    First off, welcome.

    I think it depends on your character, for me personally it is an incredibly difficult thing to do, as I do write from the heart, and only work on things I'm passionate about. I'm also quite shy, and a closet musician, writer, artist. People know I do all these things, but I tend not to share them. Eg my work colleagues ask about my book, I tell them what I'm writing about, they gasp/laugh at the subject because it is quite out there, but I don't ask them to read it. My uncle knows I write and record songs, but I tell him it is just for my own enjoyment and do not give him a CD. So do I consider myself a bad writer or musician? I think I have a good inner critic, I know what I like and what works for me. I write good songs, I write bad songs, I write songs where the chorus is a bit of a let down, or the solo guitar isn't quite as I wanted it too sound. The same goes for writing in my opinion. You can learn a lot from helpful critics, but not much from friends or family, who judge your work based on what they know about you. Eg ' you are writing about a man who kills his wife?' Suddenly it is not about the piece of writing, but they look at you differently lol. Asking strangers to critic, may be better, as they judge you on the work only, I've shared some songs with people here, and had positive feedback ( I shared my better songs) I've also shared a piece of writing I did in a rush with a published author, who thought my writing style was incredible ( I posed as a young girl) and I got tips on structure and how I could improve - I was also offered a meet up for a coffee and suspect I was being groomed.

    So in short, do not let the world put your passion to a stop, do as much as you want with your talent, and enjoy it. Push yourself and put yourself out there, when you are ready. And if someone says ' I hate it' remember they are just one human being, in a sea of human beings, and the chances are you will find an audience.
  8. ChaosReigns

    ChaosReigns Ov The Left Hand Path Contributor

    Mar 20, 2013
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    Medway, Kent, UK
    Hello and welcome to the forum!

    I think there is a degree of what you are feeling in most writers (I say most, because there are the exceptions who don't feel like that) but you will slowly become to learn that separation is what is required to benefit most from writing and learning to write in this kind of sense.

    Some (myself included) use pen names to break themselves from their work, by using a different name, it can be associated with something else.
    There are also some can split themselves from their work in such a way that means that they can still care about it.

    it will take a while to figure out, but I hope you enjoy your time on the forum!

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