The Joy (and Horror) of Sharing Your Writing

Writing is meant to be read.

We use our words to tell stories, to promote our work, to express our feelings, to make plans, and to connect with friends. We use our words for school work, in our jobs, and in our social lives. Writing is a common tool, especially in the age of the internet and smartphones.

Yet there's something both exciting and frightening about sharing our written words with others.

When speaking in person, a large portion of our communication is non-verbal. We can rely on tone of voice, facial expressions, and eye contact to fill out and smooth over our messages. We can see a reaction in the person who's listening and jump in to reassure or correct as needed.

Our writing is more open to interpretation. Even when it's riddled with emojis and exclamation points. (Or peppered with parenthetical explanations.)

When we write something down and give it to someone else, its judgment is out of our hands. The message may be received as we intended or it may be horribly misunderstood.

Whether it's something we've spent long hours to create or a thought we've hastily dashed off, our writing is an expression of ourselves. Sharing that expression always makes us vulnerable to judgment, as well as praise, scorn, or indifference.

When our writing is something we've struggled to create—perhaps a story or poem—our vulnerability increases. We have created something with love and passion. We have poured our hearts into something, worked and reworked each word, polished and refined until we feel ready to send it out into the world.

Will it be understood? Will it be loved? Will it be ridiculed? Will it be ignored?

Yes.

It's likely that it will be received with all of that and more. There will be those who read our words with indifference or who ignore them completely. There will be those who criticize and pick apart each syllable.

And then there will be those who get it. Those who not only read our words, but feel a connection to them. Those who find something meaningful in the message we've shared.

Sharing our writing is joyous and horrific, exciting and frightening, freeing and distressing. Yet its something that we need to do.

Because writing is meant to be read.


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