It’s cause for a small celebration, because I just received tons of great feedback on the second draft of my book! I may have dragged my feet over the past eight months working on other projects, but I finally did it. I edited my first book!
As friends and family write back to me about their thoughts on my story, I’m grateful that people express interest in my work, since I know very few people have actually read what I put out there (from my reviews and blog posts to my stories), so it always warms my heart to learn that people want to see what I’ve been working on. It’s also made me realize how necessary it is to share your work with others, for a few reasons.
1. You know your story too well.
You’ve been living with this story in your head in your head for a while now. Maybe it’s only been a week, maybe it’s been two years that you’ve been developing every facet of your world. The point is, you know how the story’s supposed to go, so a few of those important details that make it tick may have slipped through the cracks somehow.
When other people read your story, they’ll ask questions about character development, where this important plot point came from, etc. You can answer their questions right away, but they help you realize that – oops – you forgot to include something! Thus, making your story stronger.
2. Everyone interprets things differently
Sometimes you come up with what you think is the perfect line that helps out with worldbuilding or gives a character the perfect closure they deserve, but then it falls flat on its face. Other times you’ll write a little line that’ll resonate with readers more than the main conversation that makes you rethink the whole purpose of the story.
People have different experiences that shaped them, and even the smallest things can elicit a response from them. You never know what people will connect with, which is always exciting and, at times, satisfying.
3. Friends and family are curious about what you’re working on.
I try to stay busy during the day. When I’m not working on my job, I’m critiquing other writer’s work in my writing group, working on my own stories, or editing something for myself. I’ll go out and do stuff from time to time, but typically I’ll sacrifice socializing for writing.
I also tend not to share much. That’s why when I asked people out there if they wanted to read my book, I was surprised by how many responses I got. I ended up sending my book out to a dozen people, and so far about half of them have written back to me with better feedback than I could have imagined.
I know I’m referencing mostly books and short stories here, but this applies to music, poetry, blog posts, and any creative medium. You’ll never grow if you don’t put yourself out there. Sure, it’s scary, but trust me on this. If you share, you’ll be a better writer for it.