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Dare to Share Your Writing

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One of the critical steps you can take as a writer is to find ways to share your work with others. Those others might be writers, they might be friends, or they might be family members. Don’t let your hard work sit in a drawer unread. Writing is meant to be read. We write down […]

A critical steps to take as a developing writer is to share your writing with others. Those others might be writers, they might be friends, or they might be family members.

Sometimes you make your writing public by having an in-person audience or a virtual audience. Sometimes your first audience comes in the form of blog readers.

This post is geared to the novice writer and may not apply to a more experienced memoirist.

To Share Is To Grow

Don’t let your hard work sit in a drawer or computer unread. Writing is meant to be read. We write down words with the intent that someone will find them interesting and meaningful. No one can find them interesting and meaningful if you don’t share your writing.

When you start to write a memoir, you do not have an audience, and to find one, you must take the lead in asking people to read your work. In this way, you begin to appreciate whether or not your writing is communicating with others—and what it is communicating.

A Method To Develop the Habit to Share Your Writing

Here is  process that you can implement to make sharing your writing painless—or almost.

  1. Select a two- or three-page section of your writing. Sit in front of a mirror, and read the section aloud to yourself. Don’t stop to edit or make any other marks on the paper. Just read the section. No matter how good or bad you think it is, just read it as if you think it’s great. In this way, you become your first audience to hear your story out loud.
  2. Now choose someone to be your audience. This might be your spouse or partner, a parent or other relative, or a friend. Ask this person to read your selection without saying a word. Inform them that you don’t want any feedback, that you just want him or her to read the selection in front of you (reading the excerpt alone at home after receiving it as an email attachment doesn’t count) and then tell them they are to say, “Nice work” or some equivalent. Sit or stand nearby while he or she reads (being present is important). After your reader says, “Nice work,” respond with, “Thank you.” Take the manuscript back and change the topic of conversation. Don’t ask what the reader liked or didn’t like. Don’t even let the reader point out typographical errors. Just say, “Thank you.” This too is an early step in sharing your writing.
  3. Do this several times with different people or different pieces or writing. While feedback can be important to a writer, it is not necessary yet to you as a novice writer. More important is to develop the courage to share your writing and, in this way, make your writing public. This is an exercise about making your writing public.
  4. A possible intermediate step between #3 and #5 as you share your writing. In this step, you do ask your reader in #3 to offer comments on your text. You may ask for all comments or for just positive comments. Only you know what you can handle as you make your writing public.
  5. Find/create some occasion to read your memoir excerpt out loud to someone. Once you can stand there and endure in silence while someone reads your work, you may be ready to read out loud yourself. But first, ask, “What do I need by way of response from my readers to help me grow as a writer?” This may include comments on characterization, on memoir depth, on your delivery. What do you need now? Ask for it. This may be some questions about the characters in your story, or it may be questions about why this story is important to you. Or, it may even be time for a serious critique of the writing itself.

In conclusion

Choose growth and start to share your writing.

The above post was originally published on June 13, 2017.

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2 Responses to Dare to Share Your Writing

  1. cmadsen June 13, 2017 at 6:34 AM #

    Denis, this is such good advice. The first few times you share your work are so hard, and then you start to look forward to the feedback. Firemen show their work every day; so do teachers, and administrative assistants and shoe salesmen and gardeners and computer programmers. Isn’t our work worthy of being shown?

  2. Denis Ledoux June 13, 2017 at 6:42 AM #

    It does take courage, doesn’t it, to share writing? I get a group of friends together regularly and we share writing (and visual art). I always have a moment when I ask myself if my piece its ready. Inevitably, if a part of a memoir is not finished, it will stand out–and for that I must be grateful. Then, back to the computer to re-write.

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