Sharing your writing is like sharing a secret: unbearable at first but unburdening in the end.
I’ve been doing some freelance editing, treating each manuscript with the love I hope someone else would treat mine. What is it about these creations we love so much that make it so hard for us to put into the hands of others?
It’s because a piece of our soul is wrapped up in each work, almost like a child we have given part of ourselves to create. We have nurtured our manuscripts, discovering as much about ourselves as we have about our characters. Characters who have walked us through the darkest parts of our lives, teaching us to find strength where none was to be found.
These stories inside of us need to be told, even if no one can listen. As our fingers tap away, a catharsis builds, until the release of emotion empties out of our bodies. It can be excitement, relief, but for me, it’s often pain.
Even though I write fiction and have not experienced all of the events in my novels, I have lived all of the emotions. I laugh when my characters laugh, but I cry when they cry too. As I write those scenes where my characters fall apart, I fall apart with them, releasing the trauma of my past. And when it’s done, something has lifted from my spirit, my pain more of a memory than a visceral experience.
There is healing in writing, and even though these manuscripts can be enjoyed alone, they are more powerful with another person. But as authors we have poured out our essence into the mold of this book. If someone doesn’t like it, is it a rejection of who we are?
I think sometimes it can feel this way, and the fear sets in, tightening our grip on our manuscript. But what if your book is exactly what someone else needs? An experience to walk her through a hard time? This allows you to no longer walk alone but to walk together.
Relinquish that book. Find your tribe. And sink into the feeling of fellowship.