Looks like I fell off the face of the earth there for a bit. I've been busy... doing nothing. I'll just view that as a more extended break than I'm used to.
While looking through Twitter, I came across a person who wanted to share his work but found it difficult to do so, something I completely understand. It's terrifying to share something you've poured your heart and soul into for days on end, but if you want others to see it, it's a thing that needs to be done.
For me, the easiest way to start (if you can call it easy) was to share short stories with a select group of friends and family members who can offer truthful opinions without being jerks about it. People who love you are less likely to hurt your feelings, so it's like being rewarded for your work when they like it. Later on, you might have to prod more truth out of them perhaps thinking they aren't being completely honest with you, and that's still okay because it will teach you how to take criticism.
Next up is sharing with strangers. It doesn't have to be complete strangers. Joining a creative writing class where everyone is in the same boat is helpful as is finding online writing groups like Books Go Social or places to share your work like Commaful where other writers can offer up their experiences and advice. You can trust that, since they're also sharing work, they'll be more likely to present their critiques in a way that's easy to take. They can also share advice, resources, and other things that have helped them along the way.
The final level you're reaching for is a corporate one. Will you have the fortitude to push through rejection after rejection after rejection with no answer as to why? No critique, no tips on improvement, just a flat no? It's very difficult to not take these rejections too seriously. They're not necessarily a reflection of you or your work even though it feels like a personal attack. Maybe that particular company can't handle the workload anymore. Maybe you didn't do proper research and they don't take your genre. Maybe your synopsis doesn't get to the heart of your story. There's a really good chance they didn't even look at what you sent, not because it was bad, but because they just didn't have the time or some personal reason that distracted them.
Criticism is very hard to take at first, but something that's just going to happen no matter what you do in life, but the right criticism is going to help you become even better at that thing. The truth can set you free, but first it's going to make you mad. Taking little steps to become accustomed to it can help you deal with the much larger punches to come, punches from people who hate you for no reason and only want to see you fail.
Bottom line is to take the baby steps you need to get you over the hump of fear. Be like Nike and "Just do it!" Be like Lowe's and "Never Stop Improving" on your craft. Sharing something you've created never stops being terrifying, but it does start to get easier once you know that there are people out there cheering you on.
Inspire, motivate, believe. We all rise together.
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YA Fantasy author and amateur photographer living in New Mexico. A reflection of herself, her characters are timid at first but tend to stand up and push through when times get tough.