Some writers love the support and friendship of a writer’s group. Others avoid them for what seem like good reasons.
“I don’t have the confidence.”
“What if they don’t like my work?”
“I’m sure they’re all so much better writers than I am.”
However they say it, it reveals a lack of confidence in themselves and their work. Perhaps they don’t send their work to editors for the same reasons.
I plead guilty to lack of confidence in my work but – big BUT – I know I need at least one other pair of eyes to notice my mistakes and – big AND – to tell me what I did well and could do more of.
Some people can afford to pay – and to trust – a freelance editor. Better than that are the several pairs of eyes in a writers group. Different people notice different things. Added together you get significant input.
Will that input dent your fragile confidence? If that’s a concern test the waters in a new group. Let them go over a piece of work you like, but don’t expose your finest and best-loved piece right away. Chances that they’ll rip it to shreds are very remote, but hey, if they do, you didn’t care much for the piece anyway. Move on to another group.
Most groups will offer the support you are looking for and point out aspects of your work that are better than you thought. Yes, they will mention parts that could be improved, probably with ideas of how to do it. They might even have fresh ideas for places to market it.
If you are planning to market your work you need to accept that other eyes are going to look it over. These editorial eyes will be experienced, focused and looking for the piece that best fits their specific market. An easy first step before you give it to the professionals is to let less stressed, less critical eyes take a look.
Take time to find a writers group you feel comfortable with. Then you will know that their eyes are gentler more caring of you as a writer than a newspaper, magazine or book editor can ever be. They will not ‘reject’ your work, they will help you improve it.
The writer’s group is a stepping stone into the real world with your writing. You’ve read it yourself in your isolation. You may have read it to a friend who told you it was lovely/awesome/great. The writers group is graduation into a more objective world.
Yes, it takes a leap of faith. Do you have that much faith in your writing?