No one is going to like my ideas… says the writer afraid to show her work to the world.
Writing is a process of building upon imperfection, breaking and rebuilding, coaxing beauty from nothing. A flower does not become a flower overnight. It begins as a seed and with proper care grows and blooms.
As writers, we have a billion ideas and we push the envelope of bravery to put those ideas out there. That is one of the most important tasks a writer will ever face is being bold. And here’s the kicker: not everyone is going to like what you write.
The next important task of a writer is distancing ourselves enough from the ideas to not get offended when someone doesn’t like what we write. It’s not a personal affront, it’s not even a personal attack, and it’s definitely not a sign that you should quit writing.
The third important task in this lineup is knowing when critique is good and meant well and when it’s meant to hurt or harm. This is what comes with being brave, we have to be brave enough to know that we may not have the ideas written out well enough. Most people aren’t critiquing because they want to hurt, but, because they want to help.
The first draft will never be your best draft. And even still, the third, fifth, tenth draft may not have it yet. Some days you get to the point where it’s “good enough” and there’s not much more you can do with a manuscript. Some days you send it back to the drawing board.
But like the flower, it’s something that must be nourished, nurtured, and cared for, and as any gardener must do: they must trim the dead ends, prune it to keep it healthy, and occasionally refresh its soil. When someone comes along, whether friend or stranger and says: this didn’t work for me. Ask why. Become the researcher, figure out what it was they didn’t understand and if it’s an easy fix or a fundamental flaw. Look for critiques that overlap from multiple people, and most definitely find someone who can critique your work and give you an honest answer about what’s good and what’s bad.
Rejection letters are part of the writer’s life. Some of the most famous books out there got hundreds of rejections before they got an acceptance. That’s something that we all should take to heart. Every rejection is a badge of honor with respect to being brave.
People not liking our words, our stories, our attempts, is also its own badge of honor because the only way to be an effective writer is to push past the fear of not being liked. As long as we take all critique (and in a lot of cases praise) with a grain of salt and apply it to current and future work constructively then we can become better versions of ourselves.
We are also flowers, and we grow and build ourselves into better writers by learning our flaws and retooling them, working with them, and finding the people who can help us clear the weeds and dead ends.
So if you’re afraid to put your ideas out there, of course no one will like them, because you haven’t given anyone a chance to like them much less dislike them.
Grow your skills. Become the writer you know you can be. But first, be brave.