Sharing what you write is hard. Whether it’s reading out to a group or putting it on a blog, sharing takes more courage than you could imagine. After all, writing is a pretty personal thing. You may as well take your heart out and ask people what they think, right?
Hence why many writers remain in the closet. One day they hope they’ll have the courage to share, but that day hasn’t come yet. Still, they keep writing for themselves because once a writer, always a writer.
There’s nothing wrong with this. You’re still writing, and that’s what matters most. It’s fantastic therapy, and it’s a creative outlet like any other. But, writing in the closet can lead to silly mistake which will damage your writing in the long run. When you don’t get feedback, you’re sure to slip into bad habits and comfortable subjects. And, that’s no way to improve. If you aren’t convinced, let’s look at some of the cardinal sins most closet creative writers make without knowing it.
A major sticking point is bad grammar. Given that most of us left grammar in the classroom, many fall into this trap. We may think we’re on top of the English game, but that’s often not the case. What’s more, if we use the same lousy grammar time and again, we come to think of it as gospel. Hence, a bad habit is born. The best way around this is to head back to the classroom. If you think you’re deep in grasp of grammar mistakes, something like the Effortless English Club could help you back onto solid ground. Courses like these focus on the English language, rather than writing, so this could be a good way in. And, of course, reading like it’s going out of fashion can keep you on the right track, too.
You’re writing for yourself. You know these characters already. Before you know it you have an underdeveloped story. When we don’t write with a reader in mind, we get into the habit of forgetting to explain. As long as YOU know what’s going on, it’s job done, right? Perhaps not. If you want to harness your craft, you need to build the details. That means building your characters and making sure the plot makes sense to others. To change your thinking here, approach your work as a new reader. What’s missing? Are the characters believable? If not, go back to the drawing board.
Perhaps the worst sin of all is that of laziness. If you’re not writing for anyone, what’s to stop you jumping between stories, or putting things aside when you get bored? If you never finish anything, this may be your issue. There’s no way around this other than to give your writing motivation. And, that means sharing. Take it easy by sharing a few pieces on a blog. If you get a good reception there, you may feel able to join a proper class.
*This is a contributed post