There’s a paradox to being a writer. We do all this work in solitude, for reasons beyond ordinary comprehension.
We know that we need to practice our craft no matter the outcomes. We say we do it “for me.”
But at the end of the day, as much as we have a personal need that’s fulfilled by the act of writing, our work isn’t complete until it’s witnessed by another.
Our stories are born to be read. That’s what they’re here to do. That’s why they come through us.
Still. Destiny doesn’t always come easy. It hurts to emerge from the protected seedling stage of “working on it.”
But it’s vital. It’s life-giving. And it takes courage.
Even if you’ve done it hundreds of times before, sharing a new piece can feel like you’re putting a delicate seedling up on the chopping block.
And indeed we must be careful. We want to enlist readers who understand how to handle a baby sprout!
But then we have to push past discomfort to ask for their help, to request their eyes on our early stages.
We don’t want to wait until a piece is “good as possible,” because so often a little love from a trusted reader is exactly what our work needs to grow.
Then, it takes courage to call it done.
Once we’ve worked through a few drafts, we need to trust our process, and submit to publication.
This is what it looks like to honour and appreciate our work at every stage. To submit the tidy draft that’s been through several rounds of revision. And to share the incoherent beginnings of a new idea, a new voice, a new story.
What gives me courage, is to remember that the work is not me.
And that my work is stronger than I think.
I understand that my body will try to protect me from sending the attachment. Or (especially!) reading it out loud.
Yikes! Palms may sweat. Heart may race.
If you ever experience these signals, they mean that you care about your work. That’s why it feels like something is at stake here. And that’s okay. That’s a good thing.
Remind yourself that your work is stronger than you think.
Trust that your work can withstand someone else’s eyes, ears, and even their commentary, and live another day proud to be here, sprouted, growing, not taking things too seriously.
Loving your work in all of its stages is a very kind thing to do, and it reverberates.
It’s always worth feeling the fear and sharing your work anyway.
Because your work is here to be read.
ps: I want you to have a place to share your sprouts. In Centered we do quarterly readings around a shared prompt — it’s a beautiful experience. Membership is $20/month. Learn more about our programming and join us.
Photo credit (top): Barry Bibbs on Unsplash