It’s easy to be a victim to crippling insecurity about your writing, and there are many reasons as to why you would hide your work away and refuse to share it with other talents.
The most common reasons that I have encountered are:
- Fear, often disguised as being lost in the creative process
- Self-doubt over the quality of your work
- A little too much comparing yourself to others
- Belief that your work is not good enough
- Your writing is too personal
- The feeling that your work is not ‘ready’
- You’re a perfectionist and stress about it
- You’re too self-critical and burn with it
- An unfortunate degree of arrogance
- Afraid that others will ‘steal’ your work
If one of your reasons is not covered above, and you’re looking for someone to talk to about it, please by all means reach out to me here or a little more privately via email, Twitter or Instagram and I’ll be more than happy to chat about it.
The root cause of most of the above issues is some kind of insecurity about your writing, and the reality is that insecurity actually disappears the more that you share your work. Writing is an arduous process that does not stop, and if you continue to work at it in six months time you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come.
As with anything else, practice results in improvement. Anyone can put a lot of hours into something, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. However the big incentive to sharing your work with others is becoming involved with others and becoming exposed to other styles, ideas and personalities.
I spoke a lot about this in a previous post where I encouraged joining a writing circle.
There’s nothing wrong with needing a little help or a push to get your writing out of the door, and the golden rule to remember is that writers write. You should always be writing something, or working on something, a little bit each day. But what I have found infinitely helpful is actually letting some of that work be seen.
The reason is because you are often your own worst critic, or you can have tunnel-vision about your own writing. You may feel like a particular piece that you poured your heart and soul into is your best work, and it doesn’t end up achieving what you want, it’s rejected by some publication or entity or it does not get the reception you thought it deserved. Likewise you may write something you don’t believe is your best work, and it’s the one that actually makes a huge impact on someone else or is the one that gets the result you sought after.
As obvious as it sounds you’re never actually going to know unless you keep writing and keep sharing. Your mind’s creativity is an engine that craves stimulation; the more you write, the more it is able to write, and the more you share your work and receive feedback the more inspired you are to continue to do so. It can seem an unrewarding journey alone.
Continuously sharing and taking my advice to join a writing group also alleviates any arrogance you may have picked up on your own as well as tackles that nasty tendency some of us have to constantly compare ourselves to others. If you’re sharing your work, you will focus a lot less on watching what others are doing that you’re not. And you will also realise very quickly that there is little risk of your work being ‘stolen’ because you can always trace the source back to your notes, your computer or phone or tablet or whatever platform carries the genesis of the idea.
For some it’s an incredibly tough ask especially if what they’re writing is deeply personal to them. It can take years to overcome the insecurity or anxiety towards sharing. The important thing to remember is that as an artist you cannot starve, at some point you need support, help, feedback or constructively positive reception. And the more you get of it, the more your self-perception and fortitude will be enhanced, and you’ll be inspired to grow and put more in.
In the end it is best not to over-think it; you need to get out there and take a shot or risk never taking one at all. Visibility is one of your most powerful assets; the more people see what you write, the more opportunities carve themselves open.
Writers write, but don’t forget who you’re writing for at the end of it all.