Saturday, 6 July 2013

Going public

Putting your work out to scrutiny can be a daunting experience. Believe me I know. Part of me doesn’t want to show my writing to anyone in case they think it’s rubbish but my more rational side knows that writing stuff just to hide it away on the computer is pointless (unless you really are writing for yourself alone which is fine). It’s like training to be an actor but refusing to come out of the dressing room in case you get a bad review.

Joining a writing group can be a good first step. It’s the rehearsal room, not the first night. It’s the place where you read aloud the story that you’ve been struggling with for weeks. The one you know isn’t quite working but you’re not quite sure why. The one that’ll end up in the bottom drawer like all the others if you don’t do something about it soon.

Praise is lovely, we all need it and there’s always something amongst the muddle of words worthy of encouragement but it’s the well considered criticism of the other members that moves your writing to the next level. It helps too to listen to other people’s work, to think about what’s good and what’s not so good about their writing and above all to comment. You’ll soon find yourself thinking, yes, I do that. I tell don’t show, get the point of view wrong, confuse my tenses and a dozen other literary sins.

But mostly you’ll be thinking, perhaps I’m not so bad after all.


1 comment:

  1. Spot on Sally! I've learnt so much from listening to the critique offered by my fellow writers to others, as well as having developed an ear myself.

    I'm able to offer comments which I hope will help move the writing forward, I am however, always mindful it is the writing I am critiquing, and not the writer...

    Although it may at first appear daunting to some to join a critique group, I urge you to get over the fear, jump in and do it, you'll be amazed at the difference it'll make to your writing.