A few weekends ago, I taught the Create Your Writing Life with the CAN DO Formula masterclass at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold conference.
It. Was. Awesome.
As my first time teaching in front of a group of people LIVE, it was exhilarating. Plus, sharing what I know about creating a writing habit that works for the busy writer and knowing I helped around 20 people to possibly get to work finishing their books… that filled me with gratitude.
Gratitude for having the courage to share my work and my world with others. That’s why I’m here writing this today.
One of the hardest things about being a writer is knowing when is the “right” time to share your work.
You don’t want to share too early and have people destroy your creative drive by telling you your baby is ugly (or, in the words of Ben on Seinfeld – “breathtaking”).
You also don’t want to share “too late,” filled to the brim with confidence in a job well done, feeling like you can dust your hands and send your book off to publish, only to have your baby ridiculed by critics (usually in the form of well-meaning friends or family members who just don’t know how to give constructive feedback).
So when is the right time to share your work, and who should you share it with?
Here are my recommendations:
- Share your work with others AFTER you have your first draft completed. You’ll have enough confidence in reaching The End and won’t get hung up on or stuck incorporating early feedback; I’ll be writing more about this in a future blog post.
- Let the feedback sit for a few days before digging in and digesting it, and always give yourself a few days to digest it before taking action.
- Consider where the feedback is coming from. If you get feedback from a fellow writer, take it with a grain of salt (we like to think we know everything, don’t we?). If it comes from a person who could be considered a reader, pay closer attention. You are writing for readers, not writers.
- Get feedback from more than one source. Two at minimum. One who you know will be more critical and one who will sing your praises. Having this balance will keep you from wailing in despair (too much). It’s also important to only use trusted people who have your best interests in mind. If you have someone who has historically told you what to do and how you should write your story, they are not a good source.
- Question the feedback (in your mind or by journaling about it) to make sure it serves your story and what you are trying to say with your story. Because…
- It is your story, no one can tell you how to write it. And also, you don’t have to incorporate every ounce of feedback you get. Even as a book coach I don’t expect my writers to incorporate all of the feedback I give them. Take whatever feedback feels right for your characters, plot, and message to the world (for more on message to the world, I recommend seeing below and getting one of the 3 spots I’ve opened up for a story strategy session at half off).
- Hire an author coach to get feedback. This is a completely shameless plug here! As an author coach, I will never tell you what you should do or how you should do it, but guide you to make choices for your story based on what you want to share with the world. I will be your friend who actually knows how to write and has been where you are at any stage you’re at in your writing journey. I will be your partner in writing your book and making it the best it can be. I will believe in you and your story, especially when you don’t believe in yourself. See how we can work together or book a 20-minute call here. Together we will bring your book into the world.
Keep writing, friend! You’ve got this!