One of the scariest things I did in 2013 was to start my blog (Little Write Lies). I remember the day I decided to do it, when a friend and I met up for coffee.
“You should start a blog and put some of your stories up on it,” he said.
“Yeah, sure.” I nodded, but inwardly scoffed at the casual way he said this – like putting my writing up on the internet where ANYONE could see it wasn’t scary as all hell.
“No, really, you should,” he said.
I mulled it over, and despite the terrified part of me that was screaming “Don’t do it, you fool!”, I told him I would, and even set a launch date.
It’s been 10 months since the launch of my micro-fiction site and I couldn’t be more thankful that I pushed past that scared, insecure part of me and put my work out there for all of the internet to see.
To those who have never shared their work with anyone – or only with a good friend or a loved one – the idea of putting your writing on public display can be horrifying. If you’re like me, your writing is very close to your heart. It’s a piece of you. A bit of your soul went into that novel/short story/poem. What if people hate it? What if people think it’s boring or poorly written? Or what if nobody reads it? Ultimately, what if the rest of the world deems your writing – the thing you love – as a waste of time?
I understand that, for many, writing is just a hobby. Something done in one’s spare time and not ever meant to be shared or crafted. It’s an outlet. Maybe a source of entertainment. Nothing more. And that’s great! But many writers have dreams of large readerships and ambitions of being published. So for those of you who want something more from your writing, I urge you to push aside those fears and take a closer look at the many benefits of putting your writing out there.
Benefits of Putting Your Writing Out There
You’ll get feedback.
Putting your work out there, be it on the internet or in traditional publications, invites readers to provide their thoughts and feedback on your writing. Some of it will be reaffirming. Some of it will be critical. And some of it will be unnecessarily rude. Forget about the rude feedback for now (it comes into play when developing a thick skin – but more on that in a bit). The feedback, in my opinion, is the scariest thing about putting your writing out there. That’s where you learn what people think about your writing. It’s where you see how your work measures up to reader’s expectations. But that’s what makes it so rewarding. You’ll get outside perspective on your writing and realize what you can do better. Take everything with a grain of salt (and never forget to listen to your own opinions, too) and you’ll see your writing start to transform. Which leads me to my next point…
You’ll grow as a writer.
In addition to the feedback you’ll get, you’ll start to challenge yourself to write better. Writing regularly and with purpose helps get your writing to the next level. The more you write, the more you grow. And the more you write knowing that you want to produce something worthy of sharing with others, the harder you’ll push yourself to writer better.
You’ll grow as an editor.
Once you put your work out there, you start to find yourself editing and polishing pieces more so than you normally would. Because you KNOW people will be reading your work, you begin to learn how to look at your work a bit more objectively. You figure out how to identify which things should be cut, which sections need rewriting, and what areas need clarification or development. As a writer, it is valuable to be able to edit your own work – not to discount the importance of having others edit your writing – but figuring out how to make a solid editing pass at your work allows you valuable insight into this huge part of the writing process.
You’ll develop a thick skin.
I’m not saying that people are going to hate your work and you’ll either have to rise above it all and get stronger or else crumble into a sobbing heap of failure. But sometimes people won’t love your stuff. In fact, if we’re looking at this on a global scale, the majority of people in the world won’t know about or care about your writing. And that’s okay. Knowing that your work can never be perfect – it will never be enjoyed by every single person who comes across it – frees you from the expectation that you need to write the perfect story. All you need to do is write the best story you can. Maintaining this mindset when you put your work out there will allow you to brush off those harsh criticisms that are inevitable. This resistance to negativity and ability to persevere is key when it comes to putting your work out there – especially if you want to publish your work on a large scale.
Different Ways to Put Your Work Out There
When I say you should put your work out there, I’m talking in very general terms. For some people, a blog or site is the perfect platform. But for others, a critique group is far more useful. It all comes down to what your goals are with writing. There are many different ways to get your writing out into the world and into the hands of readers. Here are just a few options.
Literary magazines/blogs/publications (typically for shorter or serialized work)
Traditional publishing houses
Blogs and/or websites
Social media (Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, etc.)
Self-publication through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc.
Friends and family (especially voracious readers!)
I highly recommend tackling a few of these options. I post new work to my blog each week, plus I routinely submit to literary magazines and occasionally send my work to beta readers. I am also working on self-publishing a few things in the coming months. There are many ways to get your work out there. And the more routes you take, the more varied your feedback will be, and the more you’ll grow.
So put your work out there! Share your stories! And remember that, above all, it’s a learning experience. And it should be fun. Good luck and enjoy!
What are your thoughts on putting your writing out into the world? Have you tried it? What have you learned? Leave us a comment below!