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All the books I have wrote, I've always been shy to show my friends. I don't want them to think poorly of me with what I write. Any advice that could help me?

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    Are you interested in having people read your work? There's no requirement that you have to let anyone read what you write. – Kit Z. Fox Nov 3 '15 at 16:09
  • i want people to read it but I don't know how to get past my anxiety. – Alyssa Bynum Nov 3 '15 at 16:22
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    You might benefit from presenting work as a draft or letting friends read something that doesn't seem as important first. It's also important to realize that your skills won't improve if you never get feedback. You can't learn to do better if you never fail, because you'll never know what mistakes you are making. – Kit Z. Fox Nov 3 '15 at 16:38
  • Do you want to publish stuff one day? Or do you just want to write as a hobby? – DrZ214 Nov 3 '15 at 23:02
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Some of this might sound cliche, but it's what I often cling to when I'm feeling insecure about letting anyone look at something I'm working on. That being said, even experienced writers often have trouble letting go of their work. Writers are typically predisposed to keeping everything they've created under lock-and-key until it's absolutely perfect. The problem for most writers is that it's difficult (and often impossible) to ever feel as if something is good enough to be seen by anyone. Personally nothing has made me feel more vulnerable than sending a Google doc off to someone, knowing that I'm bound to have dozens of comments on every little detail, most of which I hadn't even considered.

You've alluded to being shy about sending your books to your friends to read, and you're completely justified in feeling that way. However, the reality is that unfortunately, you can't control how people react to your writing. And in a lot of ways, that's really, really good news. Even better, if your friends represent the audience you'd ultimately like your books to reach on a larger scale, their feedback will help you shape future drafts.

So, there isn't really any hard-and-fast advice I can give about how to remedy your anxiety. But, I'd encourage you to be brave and send it off for review, especially if you have a group of friends you trust with giving you constructive feedback (even if it's not what you want to hear). If you have a feeling your "friends" will rip into your work just for the sake of having a bit of fun at your expense, find a different group to get feedback from. Writers groups are fairly easy to find online, and because most of us are of a similarly sensitive mindset, there's a great deal of solidarity to be found when you're asking for help from people who have been (and are still) in your shoes.

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    A great answer. Building off of what you said at the end, I would say finding reviewers online that you trust could be where to start. The advantage here is that they don't know you, and will be a lot more truthful with their criticism. Friends that you know can (unintentionally) give you a false opinion of your writing. This will also help with being shy, as an online reviewer isn't someone you know and meet regularly. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Nov 3 '15 at 20:52
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You could try finding a local writing group or a writing class. The former can help both your skill and confidence, though they often run the risk of turning into mutual appreciation societies (which still could be useful for overcoming anxiety about showing off your work); the latter can feel really brutal, but it's not so bad when you're mostly dealing with people you don't know outside of the class and who are also having their work scrutinised.

  • Where could I find one? – Alyssa Bynum Nov 3 '15 at 19:31
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    See if your local city college or university offers writing workshop courses. You'll have to pay, but if you're really interested in writing fiction as part of your career, a formal workshop class with a good professor will help you get comfortable with review and criticism and teach you how to make use of it. Local libraries or bookstores may also be good places to ask about informal writing groups. Alternately, start your own! Everyone's got a few friends who like to write. Form a workshop group and you can all be nervous together. – Yee-Lum Nov 3 '15 at 20:20
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    I'm in the UK, so I don't know where the best place to look would be in America. Judging from your profile, I guess you're in school -- you could ask your English teacher if they know of any local groups or courses. Also, 'how can I find a local writing group/class' would make a pretty good question on this site in itself. – evilsoup Nov 3 '15 at 20:54
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You could post it online anonymously or under a pseudonym, on Reddit perhaps, and then if you don't want to, you never have to associate yourself with it.

  • I think this is very much the modern way, the internet makes everybody safe to explore the hidden parts of themselves that they're not yet ready to reveal to friends and family. – Michael B Nov 4 '15 at 12:12
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It's logical to be afraid. You worry of their critique, if they're going to be rude to you… Hell, if they're going to stop being your friends, just because they may feel offended! (Hopefully not.)

What I think is that you have to trust that they––no matter how they choose to regard your work, because let's face it, to each their own––will stay your friends and keep their professional opinion apart from their friendly recognition of who you are anyway.

You'll be fine. No worries––keep happy that you have something to show at all.

-.. .-

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Nobody else has mentioned it, so I'll be the bad guy. Your grammar is problematic, if this post is any indication. You may benefit from a patient editor. Your profile places you as high school aged. If you have a rapport with any of your teachers, you might ask him or her to do a close read of five or ten pages. If it comes back heavily marked up, The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is clear and brief.

If you're shy about showing your friends, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Kids can be horrible. How mortified would you be if someone in your circle leaked your writing to an unsympathetic audience, such as the school at large? Find an on-line writers group so that you can solicit insightful critiques without the risk.

Feedback helps. The positive gives you confidence. The negative thickens your skin and helps you improve.

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Here's the thing. You don't write to be admired. You write because there is something burning inside you to be said. The question to your friends is not, do you like it? Do you think it's good? Did I do a good job? The question is, do you get it yet? Do you understand what I am saying?

If not, that does not mean there is anything wrong with you. I just means you have not learned enough about writing and storytelling yet to get your message across. Yes, you may feel frustrated that you have not managed to get your idea across to them yet. But that is beside the point. The point is that the thing inside you is still burning to be said, so time to get to work and figure out how to say it. Because if you are really going to be a writer, it will keep burning until you actually get people to hear it.

If there isn't something inside you burning to be said, though, don't write. Or at least, don't write for the public. Writing is not an efficient means to get people to like you or admire you. In fact, it is a lonely profession. If you want an artistic accomplishment that will help your social life, learn to play the guitar. Everyone loves a musician.

Don't write. It is a stupid way to make a living and a stupid way to have a social life. Don't write unless the thing burning in your head to be said cannot be snuffed out in any other way.

And if you can't snuff it out in any other way, then it does not matter what your friends think of you. It only matters that they hear you.

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