Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting Naked

This post was prompted after seeing a one-line description of a man who stripped naked on a flight in front of fellow passengers, and refused to put his clothes back on. Though one can assume he a) drank one too many cocktails at the airport lounge b) is suffering from mental illness or c) was playing an extreme version of "truth or dare," I have to admit I also thought, "Wow, he got naked in front of a LOT of people...and he didn't even care!" Yes, I'm getting to how this relates to writing.

As a writer, part of me feels exposed, like I'm baring it all when I send my work out there to crit partners, etc. Side Note: This is where I planned to insert an accompanying picture of someone feeling naked, but when I started Googling, I only found the naked part--and holy cow, they were NOT what I had in mind for this article.

Anyway, when I first began writing several years ago, I read that it was a good idea to join a critique group so I joined SCBWI and found a group I wanted to join. The problem was that it involved sending a sample of my work to the moderator, as they only had one opening. Up until this point, no one aside from family had seen my writing and I freaked out a little. Sure, you write things because you want other people to read them, but it was my first time, and I felt vulnerable and exposed. Like I was baring a part of me no one had seen before...I felt naked. Thank goodness they took me in (the fabulous Critiquers) because I've learned so much from this talented group of women, but at the time it was a difficult step to take.

Since then, it's gotten way easier, and I get naked all the time--in the writing kind of way. I still have that twinge when I send a new ms to my blog Sisters, or a new chapter to the Critiquers, but it's way easier now than it was that first time. Part of me wonders if that feeling will ever go away, and part of me doesn't want it to--it means I care about what I've created and want others to connect to it the way I did while writing it.

What about you? Anyone else feel naked when they send their stuff out into the world? Or you used to feel that way but you've gotten over it? NOTE: If you've ever stripped down on an airplane--um, wow--but you don't need to share!


  1. Every time! Even when I send the same manuscript to you and Valerie for a third time.

  2. Matt--so glad I'm not alone.

    Lacey--me too! I think "what if it's still as sucky as the first draft?" :)

  3. It used to make me really nervous but not anymore. With each bit of work sent out for others to read it got easier and easier. I'll always feel a bit of trepidation I think, but the fear isn't there.

  4. Heather--I don't know if I'll ever get past the nervous part, but I'm still not sure I want to. :)

  5. Totally feel naked every single time I send my work out to ANYONE!! I wouldn't let my own husband read my work for over a year! And when he did I winced and cringed just watching him read it. It got to the point that he refused to read my work in the house because he hated watching me watch him read!

    It was just as bad when I let my 8yo son read my work. I write MG so he is my audience! I can't believe I was scared of the opinions of my 8yo son!

    I actually think it's harder sending my work to family and friends rather that writing colleagues. My writing friends understand the process. But with family and friends I am just worried about disappointing them.

    But it's getting better. My confidence is definitely improving!

  6. Ella--I totally understand that! I was the opposite when I was just starting out. It was harder for me to send it to writers, because I knew they'd spot everything wrong with it. This is a good thing of course, but the first time was difficult.

  7. LOL about the almost naked pics!

    I totally feel this way all the time. Not just when I'm getting critted, but in general, the idea that people are reading what goes on in my head makes me feel naked.

  8. Valerie--yeah, there's a whole online world I knew nothing about, and want to keep it that way-lol.

  9. I like my authors to get naked. Not necessarily in my immediate presence, but it totally works when they do.

  10. Cicily--good to know. I'll keep that in mind for the retreat. ;)


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