This week I was set a challenge which, I must admit, made me nervous.
I don’t post my work online.
Why not? I am very protective not of my ideas but of my writing. I am very happy to share my work in writing groups with the goal of receiving constructive criticism (I’ve joined one for that purpose) but putting my work online feels … hrm, how to explain this …
Writers often liken their work to children who need protection and nurturing. I try not to think of children outside of work for the sake of my sanity so, for me, my writing is really more like a naughty puppy. I try to placate it with food and attention, but some days I want to shut it in the garage and have a moment of peace while I reassemble what’s left of my socks (and sanity). I have a lot of love for my writing, but it’s the same kind of love you have for a puppy – at times it is adorable and wonderful and you can’t stand to be away from it in case it does something delightful. Other times you wish you’d gotten a kitten instead because the toilet training thing is getting frustrating and your favourite shoes have been reduced from two wholes to five segments that don’t quite fit together to form even one vague shape of a shoe.
Putting my work online feels like leaving that cute little puppy home alone for a weekend. You don’t know what’s going to happen; you know the neighbour is stopping by to feed it, but who knows what you’ll find when you get back.
I know that many writers post their work online yet I’m plagued by the inner perfectionist (despite my attempts to suffocate her with chocolate) who simply won’t let me share my work in such a large forum.
So I shut her up with Ferrero Rochers and I pulled out seven lines from my work-in-progress and I posted it.
And suddenly, I feel very liberated. I am eager to finish one of my many works-in-progress sooner rather than later so I can get to that point when I can leave it alone for a weekend and know that the carpet, shoes, and doors will be left intact. Ah, to liberate the words within!
My writing wish for you this week is for you to take a risk with your writing and share it. If you’ve never shared it with anyone, ask a trusted friend or colleague to look at your work. If you’ve never shared it with anyone outside that circle, now might be a chance to join a writing group or – if you’re brave – post it online. After all, we write to be heard – don’t keep your writing locked in the drawer where no one can see the wonderful things you’ve written.
This post has also been cross-posted at Budding Writer’s League.