Bad reasons for not showing your work
So, a couple of weeks ago we went through some reasons not to show your work. These were arguably (indeed, I did argue it) good, solid reasons depending on where you were at in your project. But there are bad reasons as well. Reasons that must not be countenanced! Follow me…
Lists are good. We like lists. They keep things simple and to the point. So, bad reasons for not showing your work:
Someone will steal my ideas. You know what, you’re right. If you don’t show anyone your work, no one can steal your ideas. But you may struggle to complete it, or make into a great piece. And let’s face it, you want people to read it, don’t you? You’ve got to show it to someone at some point.
And if I may make another point on this, if you’re showing people for feedback, and you’re worried about them stealing it, you don’t trust them. If you don’t trust them, you probably don’t trust their feedback either. So you shouldn’t show it to them. But don’t let that stop you from showing it to someone else that you do trust.
What if no one likes it? Well, you’d rather know wouldn’t you? Seriously, if none of the trusted people you’ve asked for feedback like it, there is likely something very wrong with your story. They can help you find that out, and maybe even fix it.
There are many variations on this theme, by the way. If you’re worried your story’s too “out there”, that people won’t “get it”, that your main character is unlikeable (and on, and on), see above.
It must be perfect first! And you want your book to be published when exactly? It will be a long time before anyone sees anything you write if you wait until all your work is perfect, especially if you’re doing it on your own. The vast majority of us need help to make our stories the best they can be.
And what’s perfect, anyway? What seems perfect now might not tomorrow, and you can’t put it off forever. Of course we should strive to be as good as we can be, but if you love your story (sheds tear), you have to let it go.
So if you’re sweating over whether to show your work to someone or not, stop and think. Ask yourself what you’re afraid of and whether that’s really a valid excuse.
Additions to the list are welcome, so pop them into the comments for discussion. I’ll add ones I like to the list above (with credit of course).