Why having people close to us read our work is so difficult
Despite being ready for thousands of strangers to read our work, we often fear the opinions of those close to us.
As sad a fact as that is, it rings so much truth.
When I first became a writer, I had so much trouble letting people I knew read my work for the first time.
And you know what? Even now that I have five books out, I still have trouble doing so. And I have a feeling I’m not alone.
Putting your work out there for people to read is hard to do.
We pour our hearts into these pages and then hand them over to readers. That is bravery. And I have a thought or two as to why people fear the opinion of their closest friends and family.
Authors are afraid of letting those close to them read their work because they are afraid to hear what they think.
Plain and simple.
If a stranger says they didn’t care for your book or your favorite character, it's a quick comment to brush off. They don’t know you and they don’t realize the pieces of yourself you’ve put into that book. It’s easy to take a few hits from strangers.
When someone we know personally tells us why they don’t like our work, it feels more personal.
As much as we don’t want to take it that way, it comes across that way anyway. The realization that the one detail you put about a character was actually a reflection of yourself or someone you know, was the thing they didn’t like. The thing they picked out and said, it wasn’t for me.
I mean, I get it.
The comment or opinion of someone close to you carries more weight than a hundred strangers sometimes. (Not all the time. I’d love to have 100 strangers tell me my books are good.) But it goes to show that despite pushing that book out of the nest, we still feel as if we have had hurdles to face in the eyes of readers.
Or more specifically, a reader near and dear to you.
Now that we have explored the fear of having friends and family read our work, however, what about the ones that won’t read our work?
There are authors who fear people closest to them reading their work. (Me). And then there are authors who are asking people closest to them to read their work and they never get around to it.
I recently asked this question on Twitter:
And…I was actually really surprised by the comments.
Some people said that their family and friends expected to read their work for free, never wanting to pay money for it. While others claimed that these people didn’t take them or their work as an author seriously. And some said that their friends and family weren’t readers.
I had to admit that after reading the comments, I too realized that we all have that one person we want to read our work, but never does.
When it’s all said and done, the important thing to remember is that you wrote a book, a short story, a novella, a poem, or whatever.
No comment, opinion, or review is going to take that away from you.
If you are afraid of people closest to you reading your work, there is no shame in that. It's an extremely personal thing for people you know to read. (And yes, I say that knowing you could be releasing your work to hundreds of people.)
Take your time.
If you are screaming in front of your aunts, best friends, or sister's house with your book over your head, keep trying. Eventually, they will come around. But even if they don’t, there are tons of other people ready to dive into your story.
Writing is a complicated, heart-felt business that feels like a solo journey and a journey with your readers all in one.
In the end, keep loving what you write and the right people will find your work.