Any creative endeavor requires taking chances. Anytime you put your heart into something and show it to someone, you’re taking a chance that they might not like it, they might reject it, and by extension, reject you. Overcoming that very natural fear is a huge step in becoming an author. Like with many things, it’s best done with baby steps. Here are a few of them, in order of increasing emotional difficulty, that can help you get more comfortable with taking the chance of showing your work to someone.
Show your work to someone you trust. Someone whose opinion you value and who you know will be kind. They don’t have to be a writer or any kind of expert. It’s really going through the process of opening yourself up to another person and showing them your word baby and getting their response back.
Show your work to other writers. Getting feedback from other writers is invaluable. They are in the same boat as you are and are one of the best ways to grow your craft. However, keep in mind that not all feedback is equal. It’s okay, and important, not to always accept everyone’s feedback.
Show your work to a paid editor. This is harder because this is an opinion of someone who is in the business and should know good writing. If you can step out and take a chance on an editor, you can get excellent feedback on your work and improve your craft in a way you just can’t get from classes and critique groups. Again, not all editors are equal, and it is still your story. You have the final say.
Show your work to an agent or acquisitions editor. Generally, you have to attend a conference or send out queries for this to happen. But this is a big deal. It feels like the biggest chance. However, remember that a “no” from an industry professional is not a rejection of your work or of you. Publishing is a business, and your product didn’t happen to fit their need at this moment.
Show your work to readers. You may decide to skip traditional publishing and go the indie route. Now your work is being shown directly to readers. This is what you have been working toward. And they leave feedback in the form of reviews. Remember not everyone is going to love your work. Not all reviews are equal. Many writers don’t even read their reviews because it’s too much of an emotional rollercoaster.
Taking chances is scary, but like anything, you get better at it the more you do it. You may never be completely comfortable showing your work to people, but it can get less painful, and you can learn from it. Let others be blessed by your gift. Take a chance and share your word baby.