“For years my friend has told me to share my writing but I’ve been self-conscious about how it will be received or perceived. Lately, I’m wanting to post, but I don’t know where to start. Do you have any advice?”
I got the above question in an email (don’t worry, email friend! I will not name you for any privacy concerns) and since I thought it was a good question that others may wonder about too, and since I wrote a long answer, I figured I’d post it here too in case it’s useful for anyone.
Basically, I totally understand self-consciousness; I feel the same way a lot too. It’s a tl;dr story but writing and sharing fanfic is what helped me start to feel more confident in my writing abilities because strangers said such nice things. I had a hard time believing all the nice things my family/friends had said my whole life about my writing was anything other than them being nice or taking pity on me. So I think sharing can be incredibly important if that feels like the right step for anyone at their current point in writing.
Below is from my emailed reply — I’m putting it behind a cut for length but I go into these topics:
**Sharing for free, **sharing for money, **compiling the story, and **how to look at feedback from readers if you are unused to sharing.
For posting, I should first of all say I’m not an expert so I may not be super helpful. But in case any of this is helpful, here are some thoughts I have:
I made the trip to NerdCon: Stories, the first year of this new convention originally created by Hank Green and then done with Patrick Rothfuss and a whole lot of other authors. As they put it:
Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. — John Green
NerdCon is here to celebrate the enthusiasm of the Nerd! We want to capture some of the most important and exciting cultural institutions in physical spaces. We started on this goal in 2010 when we launched VidCon, but it just wasn’t enough for us. Now, NerdCons celebrating all sorts of important, fascinating, and vital things will arise. We are starting with NerdCon: Stories.
Story-telling is as old as humans. In fact, it might be one of the things that helped us become humans. NerdCon: Stories is here to honor that institution with a diverse gathering of story tellers.
I heavily debated whether I would go when I heard about it, because it was expensive ($100 for tickets) and I wasn’t sure. But my friend and I were both interested, and I thought it would be cool to be there the first year of something that might take off in the future, so we went.
I am so incredibly glad we did. It was amazing. Amazing. Seriously, it was my favorite convention I’ve been to in… as long as I can remember, actually.