Why you should share what you write. (And why it shouldn't look like reality TV.)

Writing--it's such a gift.  

Think about it:

  • Your writing is there for you in an unending supply--whenever you need it.
  • You can't use it up.
  • On the contrary, the more you write, the more the words seem to want to pour out of you.
  • And it's such a generous pastime! Share your writing with others, give something to your readers, and you don't have less, you have more--a stronger voice, better writing, even more to say.

How long have you known the writer in you? Did you meet her during childhood? Or maker her acquaintance more recently?

No matter.

Sharing your writing is one of the best ways you can grow--whether you're starting out or whether you've been at it for decades.

Today, we'll talk about WHY sharing your writing matters to your writing, and your writing habit.

But first, let's make sure we all understand what I mean when I say you should share your writing.  And maybe talk a bit about what I don't mean. 

 Sharing (the right way) will help your writing grow.

Sharing (the right way) will help your writing grow.

Why sharing your writing with others is NOT like reality TV.

First, I just want to say, I'm not saying you have to share it all. Or that you have to share your writing with everyone.

Do you ever write something just for you?

A draft, something you don't quite understand yourself? Something you aren't sure you're ready to share?

Writing alone certainly has its merits--and I'm the first to tell you that a lot of the writing I do is fiercely and only for me. 

When you're trying new things with your writing, when you're experimenting and when you're really pushing yourself as a writer. (You're doing the right thing) And that writing is hard to share.

  • The truth is unique... gritty, ugly or at least not Instagram worthy. Not something you'd leave lying about when I have company over.  
  • Truly creative writing, unusual writing is the same. You may wonder if it's going to connect.  It can be scary to share it with the world...

Sharing everything with everyone--reality TV style, puts a strain on your writing. It puts a strain on the part of you that is coming up with something unique, something you...something others can connect with.  Something that might make you feel a little vulnerable--at least some of the time.

Want to write and share your writing in a way that keeps you connected to truth and creativity?

Do this: 

  1. Make space for your truth first--even (especially!) if it's kind of weird-looking and unexpected. 
  2. Then you can decide what writing you want to polish and share
  3. And decide who your readers will be.

Share your writing and watch your writing habit flourish: 3 reasons it works.

Right, so now that we've established what I do and don't mean by sharing your writing--the truth still holds:

Sharing your writing with others is a beautiful way to help your writing grow.

Let's move on to the reasons to share your writing--keeping in mind that it's the quality of your relationship to your readers that matters-not sharing as much as you can with as many people as you can.

There are so many reasons to share.  So today let's talk about the biggest 3 reasons to get your writing 'out there.'

 

 Read, write and find your voice with this short (free!) self-paced creative writing course.  You'll also get an invitation to our small community of multilingual book lovers and writers!

Read, write and find your voice with this short (free!) self-paced creative writing course.  You'll also get an invitation to our small community of multilingual book lovers and writers!

 

Sharing your writing helps you write with your reader in mind.

I'll keep saying it: we read and write alone, but we do it to connect with others. 

When you stay entirely in isolation, never sharing your work, you'll find that writing starts to feel a bit lonely.  Or worse, that your writing becomes one-sided. Selfish even. 

You need someone to read you...

Because writing is a conversation. 

When you write, you're talking to someone. If you write stories, a memoir, poetry... well, the idea is for someone else to read it and find some meaning there. 

At it's best--your writing is really about that person you're writing to.

And being in touch with your readers (sharing your work) helps you ask these questions:

  • How is your story your reader's story too?
  • What will she take away from your writing?
  • What will he learn?

Writing in a second or third language? Aiming to find your words more easily or sound more like yourself when you speak?

You're still anticipating a conversation--even one in the future.  Someone is going to be reading, listening.  

Once you let your words go, your readers will use them to write their own story! So let's find out who those people are. 

Let's see if you can write or speak in a way that connects. 

One way to do that is to find even a small group of people to share with. These people, you hope, will 'get you.' Most of the time. 

Take your honest, different, creative writing and then polish it for even a handful of people that you know...and respect: that's how great writing grows.

 

Sharing your writing keeps you motivated.

If you've ever taken a creative writing class or participated in a writer's group, you know this already.  Where does that motivation come from? 

 

When you Share with others, there are deadlines, expectations.

Say you're going to participate in a writing challenge, take a writing class, tell a friend you're sending her a chapter of your novel next month. Now someone has expectations of you. No you cannot do it another time, or tomorrow, or never.

But there's more to it than that. 

Writing for others gives you a glimpse into what could be better

When you write for an audience--no matter how small, you'll see from your reader's reactions where your voice, your style (or your English) needs to grow. 

And when you revise your writing and share it again? the reaction of your readers will give you hope for improvement.

Sharing your writing demonstrates where your writing connects.

Where your voice shines through.  Where other people understand your experience. 

I don't know about you, but I've been saved many, many times by someone reading my (frustrating) draft and showing me that there is, in fact, something worth keeping. A direction to take. A connection taking place. 

 

Share your writing--someone will notice when you improve.

Writing tends to be a long-term thing. 

Sure, you may get started because you need to write better essays, or blog posts, or because you want to take a fun class, or because you want to become fluent in a language. 

But writing grows on you. Before you know it, it's become quite a habit. And when that happens, your writing will change. 

I don't know if you've ever seen this happen. It's truly amazing when it does--you read someone's writing over a period of months, years. And then, the writing is not what it once was.

Share consistently with a small group of fellow writers that you know and trust...and who take the time to get to know your writing.  If you do, there will be someone there to recognize your progress.

Because it's so often the case that we don't see how far we've come ourselves. 

 

Is it time you shared your writing?

Next time, we'll talk about a few ways you can start sharing your writing with others--specifically, how you can start small.

Because it's often the case that starting small is one of the most effective things you can do.

In the meantime, if you've had the chance to share your writing with one person, a small community, or a larger audience, I'd love to hear about it in the comments or at the Vagabond English community on Facebook. 

Not a member of our community? It's easy to join. Just sign up for the free, short story series and you'll get an invitation. 

 

Photo by Tina Rataj-Berard on Unsplash