I always get emails from writers who are self-conscious about their writing. It’s always a little difficult to let someone else into your writing, but you can’t let that hold you back. Even though writing can be lonely, your work needs to be out there. The point of writing is to have someone read what you’ve written.
There are several ways to gain your confidence. Some things make it easier to get your work out there. Getting rejected is a fact of writing, but if you feel too awkward even to submit your work, here are some things that will get you confident enough to get your work out there.
1. Education, education, education.
Education is the best way to feel good about letting others read your work. If you’ve been through college on any track other than a writing or English major, you likely needed writing as your sole focus. If you were a tech major or some other field unrelated to writing, you might feel great about writing a tech manual, but you might need more faith in sharing your thoughts and personal words outside your career’s jargon. For some people, their last writing course was in high school. It may be difficult to recall your previous English course. The ins and outs of grammar might be a long-distance memory. Either way, getting an education is an excellent way to start.
Now unless you are ready to leave your job and start college full-time, you should 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.
Suppose you have time to take a writing course at a university and go to the university to do it; great! Most people in their busy lives don’t get that opportunity. You can take an online writing course if you want help but only have a little time.
2. Social Networks
You can write communities if ready to plunge in and get people to read your work. 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 lovely and say, “I like it.” That doesn’t help. They can give you a few good pointers, but you will not get the full feedback 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 need more constructive criticism. You can also join a group of writers in your community. For writers, this is one of the most valuable interactions you can have, BUT it is best if a writer goes into a writers’ group with some experience. Many times the egos of some members can be a little much for new writers. You might find someone giving you the advice you need to learn how to make a judgment call. Before you start with a writer’s group, 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. You 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, move your feet, and get the confidence to get your work out there.