Monday, 7 April 2014
Feedback, Fears and Fragility
When we start as new writers, it can often be hard to ask for feedback from others. Perhaps we are nervous about what others might think and we don't think we're good enough or that they'll tell us something we don't want to hear, i.e. our writing is rubbish. Putting yourself out there and asking for feedback can be an harrowing experience and one that lots of writers put off.
What is that stops us from seeking feedback? I believe that it is linked to our personal fears. What if others think our stories are terrible and they tell us so? What if they criticise our writing - surely that's the same as criticising us direct? What if I've put all this effort into something and other people hate it - I'll have wasted so much time. If I continued in this loop, I could very easily convince myself never to write again - after all who wants to put themselves out there to potentially get slapped straight back down again. We all generally like to be in a position of being able to protect and keep ourselves safe and we can easily do this by not sharing our writing. But by keeping ourselves safe, we could be missing out on some tremendous experiences too. What if people love our writing, what if they only have good things to say about it, what if it in someway it has changed a life, what if we can grow and learn from the feedback we receive - is it honestly fair to keep our writing to ourselves if we can have an impact on others and ourselves?
I once went to see a guy called Nick Williams speak during my coaching training. He has written several books but one of his most popular is called: The Work we were born to do. During his discussion he talked about us all receiving gifts and that it was our responsibility to share those gifts with others. That particular concept has stayed with me for a long time and I particularly use it when having career coaching discussions with clients. I believe that I have been given the gift of writing. It might not always be good writing and I might not always be happy with it, but I intend to keep doing it and I also intend to keep sharing it with others.
I have the same fears as other writers - I hate rejection. I yearn to be accepted. I don't want to write from the heart, bleed onto the page and then find that my work is rejected, but that is a fact of life. Not everyone can like or have empathy with the words I write, in the same way that not everyone will like me. I can't be all things to all people. I'm simply not going to be everyone's bag but then again there are people I don't like and author's books that I've not enjoyed or returned to the library unread or even worse partially unread. We all have degrees of fragility in respect of our writing, me no less than anyone else, but if you don't put it out there you may never discover just how fabulous you are!