The #1 reason why young writers don’t share their writing is the fear of being uncomfortable.
Last week, we talked about the advantages of having friends who support your writing. But before you can enjoy writing friends, first you’ve got to find them! And, well… a large amount of us find that fact daunting.
Contrary to our beliefs, we don’t have to be uncomfortable when we talk about our writing. With the right words and a few tips, it can be as easy and fun as we writers dream it can be.
So, here are 4 steps to introducing your friends to your writing (plus, how to take rejection)!
who should i ask?
This question sounds obvious. If you’re really preparing to share your writing, you probably have an idea of who you’ll be asking. But let’s get a little more specific: who should you make a priority to share with FIRST? Your parents? Siblings? The mailman??
The first people you want to enlist are the people who will lift you up! You need people who will encourage you, be your foundation as you gather up the courage to make your writing known. You know those people — dreamers, encouragers, and cheerleaders who will dream along with you and push you towards those far-away goals!
While you should hold on to the dreamers, don’t be wary of the black-and-white realists in your life! I know they’re scary. They give you all the reasons why your dreams WON’T work. They look at real life, not the way it could be. Doesn’t sound very encouraging, does it?
But you’ll find that down-to-earth people are supportive in their own way! By showing you what’s real and pointing out the flaws in your plans, they’re actually giving you suggestions on how to improve your plans. They’re not trying to be downers, they only want to make sure you aren’t carried away with your fantasies. Believe it or not, that could be the saving grace of a creative!
how do i even approach them?
Super embarrassing fact: the first time I shared this blog with people in real life, I cried.
Yeah, I know. I’m uber dramatic. But I was f r e a k i n g o u t because I didn’t know how to approach people with my blog. Was I supposed to call people? Tell them in person? What should I say??
So I promptly sent out a rushed, wordy group text. That was 1. not fun and 2. not effective.
I could have taken time to talk to my friends in the person, but my anxiety took over and my request was totally impersonal. We couldn’t keep the conversation going, talk about other people’s interests, even discuss what I posted on my blog. I just dropped it and ran away.
Obviously, that wasn’t a good thing to do. The whole ordeal would probably have gone 100000x better if I’d started a normal conversation and just casually started talking about writing.
The point: real life will give you more chances to get a casual conversation going, and THEN talk about writing. You just need to know what to say next and how to keep a conversation going.
A note for those with social anxiety who are reading this and shaking their head ~ there are other ways to share your writing besides talking directly to people. Personal texts (aka not-group texts) are a great second option, since they’re usually more personal than a phone call.
But I strongly encourage you to try talking face-to-face, at least once. You don’t have to walk up to a stranger and blabber about a WIP. Start with people you know really well. It might be a long stretch, but you might begin opening up to more people!
what should i say?
A fair warning for introverts: this is definitely the hardest part of the whole process. I know it’s hard to talk to people about something so personal as writing. I struggle with sharing writing all the time. Just close your eyes and jump in. There’s nothing to lose by being yourself.*
There doesn’t seem to be many ways to get people into your writing. I mean, you could try to casually tell the random strangers you meet. Just imagine the conversation:
writer: “by the way, man, just wanted u to know… im a writer. i write fantasy that sometimes combines with si-fi, and i also have a lifestyle blog. just… just wanted you to know.”
normal human being:
“uh… okay… cool.”
^^ that was incredibly painful to imagine… but the baby Morro GIF was 1000% worth it.
Here’s the point. There aren’t many ways to introduce a friend to your writing without a little bit of awkwardness. But the key to getting supporters isn’t telling about your writing. It’s asking for help.
‘I just wrote a short story and wanted to know if you’d like to be one of the first to see it! Would you mind reading it and telling me what you think?’ < I would say yes to that any day! I feel awesome that you asked me that, firstly because it’s an honor to be the first to read it, and secondly because I want to support you.
When you’re trying to approach someone with your writing, make your request one that will make them WANT to say yes!
*sorry if that is corny. abby and professionalism?? haha no.
more advice on friends & writing:
- Why It’s Important To Involve FRIENDS In Your Writing
- Why You Need A Writing Community (And How To Find One!)
- How To Find Blogging & Writing Inspiration – Turning Real Life Into Brilliant Ideas!
what do i do after they’ve said yes?
One of my biggest pet peeves is awkward silence. Nobody likes that moment when they can’t think of anything to say, but they keep attempting to make conversation. ‘so, uh… how ’bout that weather??’*
I also hate uncomfortable silences between friends, triggered by writing. Not physical silence. Metaphorical. Like, the ‘silence’ when you’ve asked them to read something… and they don’t. For weeks. Do they not like your writing? Are they avoiding you?? It’s awkward, man.
What do you do? Continue to recruit them to help you.
Asking people for help makes them feel important.** That’s a proven FACT. And where people feel important, they want to spend more time helping… even if they’re not really helping at all. I don’t know if that’s a proven fact, but 15 years of experience on this planet have taught me a bit about people.
Keep asking for help — not annoyingly, please, that pushes people away more than anything — but make your requests easygoing, casual questions like ‘can you think of a name for this character?‘ Your friends will start to realize how you want them to help, and they will!
*i may or may not actually say this… all the time…
**ESPECIALLY when you’re asked where the bathroom is. now THAT is the definition of important.
what if they say no??
This, of course, is what we dread the most. REJECTION.
I think we imagine our friends looking at us in horror. ‘uh, what is this junk? it’s awful! terrible! gET OUT OF MY SIGHT’ < Obviously, that’s not going to happen if you’re asking for the support of true friends.
The truth is: you will be rejected at one time in your life. And, even more reality: you’ll get rejected by someone you know personally.
99.9% of the time, though, these people are not saying no to your writing because they don’t like you. They simply don’t want to put your writing above their goals right now. And that is perfectly okay!! People DO NOT have to read your writing, follow your blog, or give you advice.
But the following is also true:
Rejection = growth.
True, rejections sting, but they’re also worth celebrating. You took a chance and did something you might have never done otherwise. That’s something to be really, really proud of.
So when you’re rejected, just let it go, say okay, and keep writing.
So there’s <span style=”font-size:large;”>four steps to including your friends into your writing for the first time.</span> Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to start (or keep) sharing your writing with people close to you.
The blog’s 6-month blogiversary is Sunday!! I can’t believe we’ve made it so far in what seems like such a short time. Thanks for every comment, follow, and subscription — all of them make my day ❤ Next week, we’re going to be celebrating, eating virtual potatoes, and answering all your questions! *
Let’s get talking then — what is the #1 reason why YOU don’t share your writing? What happened when you introduced someone to your writing for the first time, and *gasp* have you ever gotten rejected before?? AND ARE WE PUMPED FOR THE 6-MONTH BLOGIVERSARY PARTY NEXT WEEK??