Ah yes, putting yourself out there. This is the single most difficult thing for me to do.
I don't like sharing myself and my writing. In fact, sometimes I think I'll never share my writing with anybody. I'll just keep writing my stories down and then put them away when I'm done, never to be read by anyone but me.
Even sharing this blog is difficult for me. I'm thankful and grateful for my small readership but so many people I know don't even know I keep a blog. If I mention that I do have a blog, it doesn't mean I'm going to give them the link to it. It's not that think this blog is particularly special or "exclusive," it's more that I don't feel comfortable with everyone I know reading it.
This is why posting "FailSafe" on my "Fainting in Coils" blog was such a major deal for me. I actually posted a real story and a personal one at that. These personal stories really plumb the depths of what's going on my head and heart. On top of that, the purpose of these stories is to discover some hidden aspect of myself or figure out what's going on in my life so that makes posting the story even more unlikely. I felt very uncomfortable about it which is why it took so long to get the entire story up but in the end I'm glad I did it.
One of the organizers of my writing group keeps mentioning that I should attend our group's critiquing sessions. This is where two to three works are read out loud and then the writer asks for feedback. I decided at the last minute to attend yesterday's session. I thought it wouldn't hurt and it would be a good first step to putting myself out there. I didn't read, of course, because I can't bring myself to do that yet but I did love the process and interaction with the others as we gave both authors feedback on their stories. I also learned that I know a lot about the architecture of stories and the process of creating meaningful characters and compelling situations. This was a very gratifying experience.
I spoke to the organizer about it with one of the readers and he pointed out that reading your own work is terrifying because it opens you up and makes you vulnerable but he assured us that every writer goes through that. He said the process was absolutely necessary to becoming a better writer, and he encouraged me to bring something to read next time.
The reader said she didn't like reading her stuff, she feels really awkward while doing it. I explained to both of them that I love reading out loud. I read my own blog posts out loud, parts of my novels and short stories because I love hearing my words spoken. It's probably the most gratifying thing for me after watching the story unfold and surprise me. Sometimes I'll open up a scene or two and just sit here, usually after midnight and when I should be in bed, reading my own stuff out loud. It's a lovely, lovely thing.
Sigh. I guess this means I really need to read my stuff to others and get some feedback, right? When I do that I'll post what that was like here.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed these posts. They were really a way for me to organize my thoughts about writing and to make note of my progress so far.