A few weeks ago, I sent my partial manuscript to a friend for a read through and some feedback before I headed back in. This friend (you may remember her from a couple of guest posts she wrote when I was sick last year) is part of a writing group I’m a part of. The other members of the group have read parts or most of it too.
It was a bit daunting, knowing it would be read, with all it’s flaws and inconsistencies. As a writer and artist, I feel so vulnerable and exposed when showing anyone my work. That’s me out there in those words, in that paint. And if my work is rejected or not liked, well then, I’m rejected and not liked too.
It’s hard to make ourselves vulnerable, isn’t it? In a world that constantly celebrates the strong and encourages us to be stoic and tough, it feels like weakness to be afraid. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of sharing something personal with someone, only to discover too late that our confidence is betrayed, used against us or twisted.
I must confess that I find it hard to make myself vulnerable. I take a long time to trust someone with my innermost self and will withdraw at the slightest sign that the trust has been compromised. I am extremely picky about who I share with, how much and when.
Trusting people with ourselves is hard for all of us, not just writers and artists.
Before sending my document to my friend, I knew some things about her that helped me not be too anxious about her seeing me in my novel. I knew she has experience in the industry; I knew she is an amazing writer herself; I knew her to be trustworthy by observing her dealing with others; and she has proven many times that she likes me and we are friends 🙂
We need to be careful where we put our trust. We need to know people and have some sense of who they are before we hand them ourselves. Rather than not sharing or being vulnerable with others, we need to be discerning. We need to make good choices about who we share with.
And what did I get for my vulnerable calculated risk taking exercise? What came back to me was encouraging, useful, thoughtful feedback on my novel. Feedback without which I wouldn’t be feeling the confidence to dive back into writing again.
Sometimes, we need to risk being vulnerable to reap the benefits. Sometimes, we need to put ourselves out there and trust ourselves that we’ve trusted the right person.
Do you need to be vulnerable to move ahead from where you are?