Friday, August 1, 2014

Coming Out of The Closet

Many writers stay in the comfort of their dark closets for years. They hide their talent, steal time away from the family, and feed a deep need only they can understand. Sounds a little like an addict, doesn't it?

It's time to step out of the closet and into the light. Untangle yourself from the fear and embrace who you are--a Writer.

Okay, calm down, you don't need to jump into the lime light.

Take your time. Take small steps. The last thing you want to do is jump outside your comfort zone without a plan of action. Doing so may have you running back for cover, never to be seen again.

Gather Your Allies - Reach out to a writers' group, start conversations in writing forums, become a part of the writing community (online or off).

You think no one could possible understand the need, the craving to write? Everyone will think you're crazy? Voices in your head, who could understand that? You barely understand it yourself. They will turn on you, chide you, and even laugh at you? "You want to be a what?"

You're not alone. There are people out there just like you. They know exactly where you are, because they've been in the same place. Most writers will even reach out and guide you forward. But first, you have to let them know you are there.

Test the Waters - If your plan includes publication, sometime after you've created this new comfort zone surrounded by allies, you will need to stick those toes into the cool water of the writing world. You must let others see your secrets.

Careful now, make sure you are ready for this one. Having another person look into your deep, dark soul can be breathtaking, but it can also be devastating. You're about to be criticized, guided, and perhaps even bashed on what you've spent many lonely hours creating and forming.

Choose your first critique wisely. When the onslaught starts, take a deep breath, and don't take it personally. We all have areas to improve on. You'll need to know what to work on. Having other writers, preferably experienced ones, point out your weak spots offers you a new viewpoint on your work and a chance to improve.

Warning: Not all writers are helpful. DO NOT forget that. If the feedback you receive feels negative and hurtful, you may be experiencing over-sensitivity to someone criticizing your baby. Or, there may be a more devious aspect going on. Get a second opinion, maybe even a third, but chances are if all three point out the same thing, you may have found the weakness in your writing and/or your story. If at any point you feel devastated, take a step back, a day off, or a brisk walk. When you come back, you should be able to see the comments for what they are, whether they are helpful or useless.

Before you move on to non-writers and declare this new road you plan to take openly, you should get comfortable with your writing community, gain strength and confidence. And when you feel it's time to step a little further out to declare WHAT you are, start with your most trusted friends. Expand outward as you feel the need to do so. There's no need to rush things.

But above all, do you really even have to tell that second cousin who always makes you feel so small? The aunt on your father's side, who only talks about her son, THE DOCTOR. Wouldn't it feel better for your book to show up in their mail one day? Out of the blue, a signed copy! No need to be bothered with what these people think of your dream. But, it is up to you. Just don't say later that you weren't warned.

Are you ready? Deep breath, now step forward. Congratulations! You've made that first move. Good luck with each new step in your journey. 

You may also enjoy:
A Treacherous Journey
Your Muse


Terry W. Ervin II said...

You are so correct. Not all writers are helpful. Often it's not because they are mean, but that their advice and insight are just off target (sometimes way off). Several opinions is a good thing to consider, definitely.

Cher Green said...

Yes, finding a good connection between you and the other writers is a strong starting point. We all have many different styles and such, so not all writers will sync up together.

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