When we write we must deal with a lot of ourselves. The fear of the blank page is enough to stop us in our tracks. Even our own inner critic cripples us mid-way through a sentence. If we are going into an arena where we will have others commenting on our work, we need to learn to take it in stride.
In high school, I willingly shared my writing because it usually consisted of some hidden meaning. I usually received positive feedback and it felt like it was the only thing I was good at. As I got older and tried my hand at longer stories, my writing became something I would hideaway. I lost confidence in my work. I became very critical of all that I wrote and squirreled it away in the dark, so no one could see it.
In the last four to five years, that confidence has slowly been building back up. When I enrolled in college again, I was forced to present my work to others. These pieces were then given over for critique from other students as well as the teacher. This aspect scared me. I was already overly critical of my own work, and I didn’t want to be brutally told that I should just cease writing and investigate another hobby. Would my work stand up to the others and to the teacher?
My anxiety and stress over it were really for naught. Besides getting mostly positive responses from the other students and the teacher, I was also given some excellent tips on certain areas that could be improved. The piece in the end was much better than anything I had written in a long time. While we are scared to hear what others have to say, it may lead to great things.
Mind you, some comments can be filtered as there are rather critical people out there. You know the ones that are never happy with whatever you may come out with. You just need to sift through and take the ones that will help and implement them. The rest is just background noise.
Getting an outside opinion is a great way to have fresh eyes. How you say things may not translate onto the page well. Those extra pair of eyes can help point that out, that maybe they get the gist, but it just doesn’t read well. It can be scary stepping out into the light after keeping your words to yourself. It’s time to dust them off and give the world the chance to see how great you are.