The other day, I was enjoying the latest post from Mel Fowler’s wonderful blog, Adventure Writes, when several comments left by others surprised me.
In her post, Survival of a Reader Mel shares how she read her Chapter One to her writer’s group.
While reading, she “began anticipating what they would say in certain places, and began to feel that my novel, was crap, that my story was no good.”
When someone later said she’d liked the story, this surprised Mel, who’d read her chapter out loud for the first time. Glad to have gotten through what was obviously a nervous experience, Mel also mentioned this was something she needed to do, and that it was a step in the right direction.
Don’t get me wrong – I totally agree and applauded Mel for stepping out of her comfort zone, but what fascinated me were some of the comments from fellow bloggers – many of whom I respect and follow.
The consensus seemed to be that not many read their work to others – and I would have to ask why not?
Trust me, I’m no expert at having others read my work out loud, but last year, when I attended my first Southern California Writer’s Conference I specifically signed up for all their “Rogue Read and Critique” sessions.
These things are legendary… they start at 9 p.m. and stop when the last reader falls... the current record is 6:02 in the morning!
(Digression alert – sorry!)
Anyway, I was excited to hear someone else read my stuff. Sure, I was nervous, but excitement won over.
Well, my theory is: if it doesn’t kill you – it makes you stronger.
I remember looking around the small hotel conference room, I saw that person, yes, you in the corner, holding the five pages I’d printed earlier.
We weren’t related, and, OK we were in the safe environment of a writer’s clique, but you were under no obligation to like what was on the page.
You did, however, offer to read, and thanks for that. Now I’m looked forward to any reviews and assessments from others in the room.
Good or bad is OK – honest is best.
I’d scribble notes as fast as I can, and did the changes once I got home.
That’s exactly how it goes down every time, and I love it!
Sometimes I read my own stuff, but I prefer strangers to read when possible – it’s raw and so dang awesome when their voice aligns with the tone of the voice(s) on the page. It's like... they get it!!
Seriously, if you haven’t tried this before, don’t miss out on a great way to move your writing forward.
Mel’s taken that first step, it sounds like she’s going back for more – and I bet the next time won’t be so hard.