Top Secret or Not: Sharing Your Writing with Others

Filed in Ask the Editor by on January 21, 2015 0 Comments

Top SecretThere is a common writing stereotype doing more harm than good for the writing community. Writing is not, and should not be viewed as a solitary confinement type of punishment. The task of sitting down to write has been glorified as this painful and disparaging task that segregates the writer from the rest of their community. No one else could possibly understand how torturous it is to sit down and stare at a blank screen, willing yourself to type even just one decent sentence that doesn’t fall victim to the “delete” button on your keyboard. That thought has gone through the minds of writers time and time again, but the problem isn’t that others don’t understand. The issue lies in the fact that writers pull themselves away from family and friends out of fear.

I won’t lie to you, the first time you share your work with anyone will be nerve-wracking, maybe even leave you feeling a bit queasy. That being said, you can’t lock your loved ones out of your writing journey. You will need their support, their encouragement, and maybe even their accountability to help you cross the finish line. Writing is like exercising; if you don’t find a workout buddy or hire a trainer, who’s going to hold you accountable when it comes to doing those last ten squats? Your brain is going to tell you, “Hey, don’t worry about it. You’ve already done forty squats, the last ten don’t matter.” The workout buddy or trainer is going to say, “Don’t quit now, you’ve got ten more to do. Keep going.” It’s the exact same process for writers. Tell someone the amount of words you want to write in a day, and they will hold you accountable. When self-doubt creeps in and steals all of your creative energy, let someone be your cheerleader and help you get back on track.

Many of the first-time writers I speak with, fully admit that no one outside of Xulon Press has read their manuscript. The first person to read your finished manuscript should always be the one or two people that mean the most in the world to you. That emotional support will provide more confidence than possible to conceive, until you do it. Wouldn’t it mean so much more to know what your husband or wife, child or sibling, friend or other family member thought about your writing? Those sweet words will last far longer than any praise you read from an editor.

Writing shouldn’t be a prison sentence; it should be a challenging, but enjoyable process. When it comes to keeping your writing top secret or sharing it, I will always urge you to share— not just your finished manuscript, but the writing process as well.

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About the Author ()

Erika Bennett, Editorial Manager for Xulon Press, has been a freelance editor for nearly half a decade. Before joining the Xulon team in 2010, she worked with several first time authors who wanted to test the waters of self-publishing. Her aim is to make sure great books find their way into readers’ hands.

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