So You Think You Can Write?

If writing was a reality show…wait, it kind of is, right?

I watch a few reality competition shows (my daughter’s favorite is Dancing with the Stars) and it never fails to impress me how people are willing to put themselves on the line and be judged.

Sometimes it surprises, awes and totally works out.  Sometimes…well, that’s what the sad, kind of mean, “mocking” phase looks like on American Idol. It’s not pretty, and usually sad and cringe-worthy. (As an aside, that’s one of the reasons I don’t watch AI.)

When I think about it, writing can be like a reality show. You put hard work, sweat, tears, caffeine and a bit of your soul into each story.  Then, with a deep breath and a nervous flutter, you put it out there. Sometimes it gets a great reception, sometimes it passes by quietly…and sometimes you have to weather some “creative criticism.”

Friends who don’t write often ask me–why put yourself out there? Why juggle family, work and writing deadlines? Why suffer tough reviews and tougher beta readers? For someone who’s an introvert, that sounds like hell, right?

Here’s the thing, and something all writers know–we can’t NOT write. It’s a need that has to be satisfied. For someone like me, who was kind of a Stepford student (my hubby’s nickname for me in college), putting my finished work out for “grading” is part of the process.  It might be painful, but a lot of times it’s wonderful. The first five-star review I got sent me to the moon and back…as did each and every one after that. To know my work touched someone in some way is the biggest compliment, one I’m humbled to receive. And I don’t think these emotions are unique to me…I think all writers experience these feelings from time to time.

It’s scary to publish, but if you have the drive and the desire, it can be a rewarding experience. And no matter the reception, you’ll learn something, too, which is always worth the journey.

Here’s a great example of not judging a book by its cover…and when putting yourself out there in a new way ends in something amazing:

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