Are You Ready To Share Your Writing?

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share your writing

Writing is so personal, and writers can be very territorial about their work. But there are times when showing your work-in-progress to even one trusted reader can elevate your manuscript.

Like many of you reading this article, I’m writing a book. I’ve talked about it in BookBaby posts like “The Accidental Novelist – How Stolen Moments Can Make A Book,” and I’m proud to say that my project is now at 80,000 words and growing.

An unexpected thing happened recently: I decided to share portions of my manuscript with other people. This may not seem like a big deal to some writers, but it was a remarkable development for me, especially because I wasn’t sure that I’d show any of my work to anyone, ever. Since I began writing it, this has been a novel that I’ve been creating purely for personal catharsis and exploration.

There were a number of factors that caused the shift. I’ve realized that deciding to share your work-in-progress can happen for any number of good reasons and can help you move your writing forward in powerful and unexpected ways. Here are some reasons to share your writing:

Share when you need to escape the author bubble

As I discussed in my article “How To Read, Edit, and Evaluate Your Writing With Fresh Eyes,” reviewing your work from a different perspective can be invaluable. Reading from a new point of view allows you to see fresh creative routes, imagine new ideas, and catch things in your text that you’ve overlooked previously.

Sharing your work with someone else for the first time can be a powerful way to gain that vital, new perspective — and this was a key motivator when I decided to share major chunks of my novel-in-progress with people close to me. While I was happy with the sections of text that I had created up to that point, the novel hadn’t coalesced into a smooth narrative across chapters. I knew the potential was there; it just hadn’t happened yet.

By preparing my work to share with others, I found myself reading and revising with a completely different mindset — that of a reader, not an author. I made changes, large and small, based on this newfound gaze and sent the work off. To my eyes, this process has made my novel significantly stronger and more compelling.

Share when you hit a wall

If you get stuck while writing, sharing your work can help you push through. Maybe the person you share with is a trusted mentor who can give advice on how to move your story forward. Maybe your confidant is a non-literary family member who can give you the support and high-level perspective required to keep your words flowing. Or perhaps your first reader is an expert in the field you’re writing about and can offer helpful knowledge and context as you enter the next creative phase.

Regardless, the key point is that if you feel stuck, banging your fingers against keys, your pen against paper, or your head against a wall will rarely get you where you need to be. Sharing your work with others can help you shift that energy in a direction that will get you writing again.

Share when someone else can benefit

Writing isn’t all about the writer. Is there someone in your life who could be inspired, cheered up, persuaded, or enlightened by reading your draft? If you think your book-in-progress can help someone in need, in whatever shape or form, that’s great motivation to share what you’ve been pouring your creativity into.

Share when you’re bored

Do you feel out of ideas, unmotivated to continue, or just plain uninterested in your work? It may sound counterintuitive, but this can be the perfect time to share what you’ve been writing. It can be hard to see the energy in your own work after you sculpt it day after day, but the excited reaction of a trusted reader seeing your work for the first time can remind you why you began your project in the first place and give you fuel to keep going.

Share when events dictate

If you’re writing a book about politics and a major election is coming up, the zeitgeist of the moment may be motivation enough to share your work, even with just one trusted reader. Similarly, if other current events — personal, communal, national, or global — make your work suddenly more relevant, take advantage of the moment and share what you’ve been writing.

Share when your gut says to

There doesn’t have to be a rational reason why your work was strictly private yesterday but isn’t anymore. If you wake up with the urge to share, do it and don’t look back.

Share when it’s done

Many writers don’t want other people looking at their work until it’s crafted, polished, reviewed, re-polished, and chiseled into proverbial stone. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with such an approach. If this is you, take all the time to get your work where you want it to be, then share it with anyone and everyone you choose.

How do you decide when your work is ready to be shared — and what can be gained when you do take the plunge? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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Related Posts
The Accidental Novelist – How Stolen Moments Can Make A Book
How To Read, Edit, and Evaluate Your Writing With Fresh Eyes
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8 COMMENTS

  1. I find this post particularly interesting because it touches on all the points that have been plaguing me. Have you any suggestions how I might go about sharing my work-in-progress ; where and with whom?

    Many thanks

  2. I have just finished my short novel.
    ‘Incident at Barbers Ridge’. It is about a minor war in Africa. Perhaps few novels are on this subject, especially as this is from my ow experience. Of course, would love to explain what it is about.
    Just give me a prompt!

  3. Loved your post but I have a question that has been bothering me for a long time. I have a blog that I set up primarily to practice writing and allow family and a few friends get a glimpse of my progress. I submitted one of my short stories for a contest and was told that it was a published piece (from my blog) and therefore wasn’t qualified. Is this true? If so then I have a lot of stories that I will never be able to publish in a book.

    • I suppose a contest can create its own definitions of what constitutes publication, and had your work appeared on another blog (other than your own), that might apply, but it’s a stretch to claim a piece published on your own blog makes it a published work. I guess they’re trying to make certain they retain exclusive rights if a piece were to be awarded a prize, and they are drawing a hard line.

  4. Thank you for this. I had never looked at it that way. Glad I read it. Now get you novel finished, don’t forget to say when it is published, so I can read it.

  5. I would like to share my work (a memoir) with others to acquire perspective, and criticism from readers to make it better, to make me better.

  6. My book is about our life’s journey and how difficulties lead us to a spiritual awakening if we can surrender to that notion. My fiancé leaving me right before my son’s motorcycle accident pushed me into a deep abyss that eventually led me to heaven… both literally and figuratively… in Hawaii.

    Eight years later, my son improved as I went through one obstacle after another, contracting Lyme disease, having a mini stroke, a mild heart attack, a near death experience, and then healed all the emotional distress holistically, to return to tell the story.

    When do I share? Orally I’ve been telling the story for two years now. But for some reason I’ve stalled on the writing. Fear perhaps… but I picked it up again yesterday ready to move forward again.

    What will happen as I put my story out there? Over 42,000 people were diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2017. Perhaps some of them won’t go through the 5 years of hell that I did.

    The Heroine’s Journey… in my quest to heal Lyme disease, I discovered who I am
    Gail Lynn

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