The other day, I accidentally published a post on this blog before I had completely finished writing it. I must admit, my first response was to panic a bit. I couldn’t stand the thought of other people seeing what I had written when it was in that state. I wasn’t ready!
This is a common experience for writers, I think. It doesn’t always happen because of a mishap like mine; sometimes we have to turn in an essay before we think it’s good enough because it’s due that day, and sometimes we have to nerve ourselves up to allow someone to read the story we’ve been working on, even though it isn’t perfect yet.
The fact is, our writing will never be perfect. If we try to wait until it is, we will never be ready. Sometimes, we have to be willing to take risks, willing to let go, and willing to allow others to share in our writing process. At times, our feelings of unreadiness are just procrastination in disguise. We say we’re “not ready” to let someone else read our writing, but really we just don’t want to put in the work to make it ready.
There are steps we can take to make sure that we are as ready as we can be to share our writing. Before we take the plunge and let another person read what we’ve written, we can help our writing be the best it can be by writing multiple drafts and being willing to make both large and small changes. Sometimes, letting your piece sit for a few hours (or a few days, if you have that much time) will help you come back with a new perspective and revise with fresh eyes.
In addition, we can ease into sharing our writing, taking it to to someone we trust and allowing him or her to be the first reader. If you are still in college, the tutors at your school’s writing center would be more than happy to look over your writing. Although sometimes it may feel as though your writing is like a first-born child, all parents need to learn to let their children grow up and find their own way in the world.
Just as parents can only attempt to prepare their children for the challenges they will face, writers can only attempt to prepare their pieces for a larger audience. At a certain point, you have to acknowledge that you have done the best you can in the time you had to do it. You have to learn to let your writing go out into the world and say what it has to say. Perhaps it will make friends, perhaps not. Still, you have to let it go.
Speaking of letting it go…. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.