“There, there, Marge, think of the bright side. Now we can put a hot tub in his room.”
Like parents sending their child off to college, writers must release their work for scrutiny and possible publication. Not unlike parents, authors may have trouble letting go of their little darlings. Locking your prose in a desk drawer feels safe. How will you know its true worth without assessment? Little Sarafina looks lovely in that gown, but no one will ever see her if you don’t let her go to the prom.
The goal of writing is not to hoard your stories, putting them in display cases with velvet ropes and spotlights. Sure, these monuments to your untested and immature creativity are treasured by you. If this is why you write, then you’re done. For those who seek publication, however, this is not an option. You can only mature and grow as a writer when you submit your work for critique.
Insecurity prevents budding writers from showing their work to others, be they literary professionals or average readers. Potential novelists may believe that if readers don’t like their writing, they don’t like them. “Don’t take it personally” is an easy phrase that is hard to absorb. Proficient writing (and thick skin) is achieved only through consistent critical crafting.
- Start close to home, by showing your work to someone you trust.
- Build up your confidence. Have your work critiqued by a literary professional.
- Continue your quest by honing your work to a razor-sharp edge, then submitting.
When parents have children, their goal is not to keep them in diapers at home their whole lives. God forbid! Kids gain their independence gradually, with small victories (and failures) along the way. Think of your stories as grown children. Do you want them parked on your family room sofa, playing video games the rest of their lives, or facing the world with fully equipped prose? Plaster on a smile, proud parent, and kiss them goodbye.