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How do I grow maturity and strength as a writer?

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions How do I grow maturity and strength as a writer?

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  • #106024
    Anonymous

    My title may be sort of vague so let me elaborate.

    I have a lot of anxiety about sharing my writing, especially in regard to receiving critique. But I’m also getting to the point where I’m ready to come out of my shell and share it, not just to hear everything that’s great about it, but to hear everything that’s wrong.

    I understand though that if I shared my writing now, I might get hurt by a critique, even if it wasn’t meant to be hurtful. So my question is, how do I build up the strength to share my writing, and the maturity to handle criticism and not take it as a personal attack? Is there something I should do before I start sharing, and how will I know that I’m really ready to start sharing and getting feedback? If anyone has any advice or answers it’d be appreciated.

    #106028
    DeepRun
    @deeprun

    @phoenix

     

    For me it’s twofold.

    I was pondering this exact question the other day.  I was fretting and worrying about a piece I had shared and the critique it might garner. I then realized my ultimate goal is to be a published author.  See the dots connecting? If my goal is to be a published, I’m going to have to be ok with other people reading my work.  It was a liberating thought and bolstered my confidence.  Critique is just prep for that end goal.

     

    Also, iron sharpens iron.  Critique isn’t exactly pleasant but I’ll never get farther ahead by myself.  Every time I’ve had to rewrite, revise, or start over it’s always borne great rewards and a better end product.  I get so submerged in my own work, I can’t see things nor be objective.  Good night, in replying to messages on here, I make more typos than a 12 year old texting.  In retrospect, I’ve always highly valued those moments when someone was strong enough themselves to hold their edge to mine, to point out what could be better.

    Ok… Threefold.  The feeling created by a critique isn’t always what’s being said.  I’ve had readers say parts were boring or cliche.  Which my wonderful emotions took and loudly proclaimed, “See! See! You are boring and cliche!” My work was, not me.  It’s a constant process to divorce my value and worth from my work.  My work is a product of me, not the grand sum. Thank goodness.

    I think there’s some sort of spiritual lesson here I’m going to have to reflect on.  That aside, sharing your work on a place like Story Embers is about a safe a bet as you can make.  At least, I’ve found.  The hardest part is these things being online.  What can’t get misinterpreted?!

    You do not have a soul. You have a body.
    You are a soul. - C.S. Lewis

    #106069
    Anonymous

    @deeprun Well yes, but how do I get there? And how do I know I’m there?

    #106090
    Michael Erasmus
    @michael-erasmus

    Though I’d been writing for a few years, I’d never dared sharing my work with anyone. My writing could only ever be good enough for myself, I thought.

    Then doing BSc Hons, I did a 80+ page research paper. While the topic I chose fascinated me, I had to work under two supervisors. I had to send them my work every few weeks, and they would respond with criticism and changes. Eventually, I had to present it not just to my peers, but a room of lecturers, doctors, and professors. This was everything I had feared (actually, more!), and yet…..none of the dreadful things I’d feared happened. In fact, it was great! The criticism was strict, but always helpful. I learned a lot. And through this process, I grew through my mistakes, my academic writing improved, and my research was well-received. All because people—critics—guided me.

    That gave me the confidence to share my work, including creative writing. And it’s been oh-so-very worth it!

    So, @phoenix, I know it’s daunting, but I assure you it’s not as bad it seems. All you can do is take the step and see what happens. Pray for peace, ignore fear, and just do what you gotta do.

    #106111
    DeepRun
    @deeprun

    @phoenix

    If you’re asking these questions, I think you are there.  You see the need for others to help you grow.  I’m stealing this from a book I’m currently reading (The Soul of Shame) but I think it’s very applicable.  We are fettered by shame.  So we turn away from others (other writers, critique, etc.) thinking that will protect us.  It doesn’t.  The turning away, hiding, covering up only REINFORCES that shame.  Which makes us feel it even more.

    Freedom comes from turning towards others.  It’s not without peril but once again, this is a pretty safe environment.  Most of the cut throat writing pirates are off sailing other seas.  People who are here, tend to be here because they want community and to become better writers.  At least that’s my take from watching for a while.  I’ve seen a lot kindness I would not have expected.

    So… Practically.  If you’ve got a manuscript, ask for a beta reader. Or alpha. Or whatever anyone calls them.  I’d be happy too.


    @michael-erasmus

    Great example! Most of my fears never materialize.  Most.

    You do not have a soul. You have a body.
    You are a soul. - C.S. Lewis

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