I get emails all the time from writers who are self-conscious about their writing. It’s always a little difficult to let someone else into what you’ve written, but you can’t let that hold you back. Even though the act of writing can be a lone process your work still needs to be out there. The point of writing, in many ways, is to have someone read what you’ve written.
There are several ways to gain your confidence. There are things that make it easier to get your work out there. Getting rejected is a fact of writing, but if you feel too awkward to even submit your work, here are some things that will get you confident enough to get your work out there.
1. Education, education, education.
The best way to feel good about letting others read your work is to get educated. If you’ve been through college on any track other than a writing or English major, you most-likely didn’t have writing as your sole focus. If you were a tech major or a some other field not related to writing, you might feel great about writing a tech manual, but you might not have that much faith in sharing your thoughts and personal words outside of your career’s jargon. For some people the last writing course they had was in high school. It maybe difficult to recall your last English course. The ins and outs of grammar might be a long distance memory. Either way, getting an education is a good way to start.
Now unless you are ready to leave your job and start college full time, you might want to look into something other than a writing program. We have an article on Should I get an MFA in Writing on our site. Read it if you are considering that track.
If you have time to take a writing course at a university, and actually go to the university to do it, great!. Most people in their busy lives don’t get that opportunity. If you want help but don’t have much time you can take an online writing course.
2. Social Networks
If you are ready to plunge in and get people to read your work you can try writing communities. We have some listed in our social networking for writers page. A few warnings here. You will find two types of forum feedback, from my experience. You will have people who will be brutally honest and sometimes hurtful, or you will have others who are too nice and simply say “I like it.” That doesn’t help. They can at best give you a few good pointers, but you will not get full feedback like you will usually get from an online writing course.
Now you can have many types of workshops. You can have either one where you share work with friends and family. This is good, but you might not get the constructive criticism you are looking for. You can also join a group of writers in your community. For writers I would say this is one of the most valuable interactions you can have, BUT I think it is best if a writer goes into a writers group with some experience. You’ll find that many times the egos of some members can be a little much for new writers. You might find that someone is giving you advice that you don’t really know how to make a judgment call about. I highly recommend that before you start with a writers group, that you have some lens or filter as a writer.
So we recommend, again, education, education, education. In the end you are the one who decides what goes into your work. Your are the one who will live and die with your characters, settings, and plot. You have to take and reject advice. Get a professional to help you get started, get your feet moving, and get you the confidence to get your work out there.