Here’s the thing – All writers do. Caring about what others think isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but worrying about it is.
Throughout our lives, we have created a picture of who we are through the eyes of others. We have learned ways to earn others’ approval and have built connections with other humans. When we’ve made a mistake, offended someone or embarrassed ourselves, it’s our peers that help us realise how to do better next time. And we offer the same in return, a cycle that permeates our connections with others. All of our relationships are formed through common ground and shared understandings. Without this connection, our world would be a lonely, cold place to live in.
This need for approval from our peers comes with a downside. It forms a link to our self esteem too. When we don’t get the thumbs-up from our loved ones, it affects our self-worth. Writers are aware of this pressure, yet we have a duty to share our stories with others. It’s the final resting place for our creation. What use is it to create something new and never share it with another human being? And yet the need for approval often leads new writers to shield their work from critical eyes. This is especially crushing to a new writer who has dreams that aren’t understood or supported by their loved ones.
Their fears often begin with what ifs…
- What if they don’t like it?
- What if it doesn’t make sense to the reader?
- What if its the worst thing they’ve ever read?
- What if I have got it all wrong?
With any creative pursuit, our passion leaves a very personal stamp on what we make. It’s a huge step to share our work with another. We fear a lukewarm response to our writing, or worse still… ridicule. Anxieties brew over our lack of writing ability. Our dream of being a writer feels under threat.
All writers experience this fear. Even published authors feel anxious about sharing their work. But they have learned to counter it by spending time practising how to tell their story. Each draft they completed, read back and re-wrote, edged them towards the finish line. It took effort to release a novel that they hope will be eagerly read by rabid readers, and the most satisfying results always come from hard graft. Although a novel is the product of its creator, it often was the result of a wider influence; a team of experts, a community of peers, and lots of feedback which shaped their creation.
Connect with other Writers
When you’re new to writing, it’s common to feel that you’re not ready to share your stories with others, for all of the reasons above. So, it’s logical to assume every writer at the same stage as you will also be frozen with similar fears. Know that you are not alone. By joining peer communities, you will discover that the troubles you’re experiencing aren’t unique to you, but common to the craft of writing. You have a shared understanding of what it is to write, to create. New relationships are formed which help you shape a newer view of yourself – one as a developing writer.
Writing is often seen as a solitary activity. It really is, when it comes to putting words together on a page. But being a writer needn’t be. There is much to gain by making connections with other writers – they can offer guidance or even solutions to problems you’re facing with your writing. Sharing your works with other writers can help you develop your skills – they understand your quest, share the same goals. Opportunities to source peer (and private!) feedback is one benefit of my own community for writers. It makes that first step of sharing your own work less daunting.
Caring about what others think isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but worrying about it is. Your duty as a writer is to share your ideas with others. Finding success as a writer isn’t achieved by only one person’s quest, but by positive influences and an upward journey of improvement.
For the support and encouragement you need to dust off those hidden works, join Storytellers Elite. Why not join in our next online group session, where you can take part in discussions about writing and see if we’re the right fit for your writing goals?
Every month, I hold an online workshop to discuss an element of writing – we welcome guests to join in and find out how Storytellers can offer them support, motivation and accountability. Join in at our next event!