Closet Writer: Why you should come out

by | Apr 5, 2016 | writing

I was a self-proclaimed closet writer. Does that mean I wrote in the closet? Not exactly. It means I was very secretive about my writing. No one read what I wrote…I couldn’t face the chance they would hate it. The work was too close to my heart, I couldn’t bear the rejection! Besides, who did I think I was? I don’t have any kind of college coursework or classes to back up my work. I was a science major and here I am writing Historical Fiction. Basic English coursework, basic History classes. Surely, if I put myself out there, everyone would know I was a fraud.

fearOvercoming the Fear. At some point, we have to just gather our courage and step out into the world with our art and share it. I let my husband read it. But, let’s face it, he would tell me it was good even if it stunk like last week’s leftovers. Then I shared it with a friend who has a great habit of being super honest. No matter what. Believe me, I was terrified. But, against all odds, she loved it. We never know if we don’t take the risk.

baby-steps2The Next Steps. After some time, my husband and friend convinced me to put my first novel out into the publishing world in hopes to have it published. Thus began the scary process of querying. Cue nerves. But, believe it or not, one of my queries came back with a positive response – someone wanted my novel!

alone-in-crowdYou are not alone. My point is this: at some point every author has had similar experiences. We all feel close to our work. We all fear rejection because of this. And we all have had to realize that there will be those who don’t like what we put out there. This is an industry in which one must have thick skin. It doesn’t mean that what we put out isn’t worth while, or even good. It just means that people are entitled to their opinion. But no one has ever succeeded without first risking failure. And some of the greatest successes of our time (take Walt Disney, for example) succeeded only after experiencing failure.

What is keeping you from submitting your work to a publisher? Or even from sharing your work with a trusted friend? If you are working on honing your craft, do you have a critique partner or beta reader you trust to give you feedback?

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Sara R. Turnquist