Until I started this blog, I had never really put myself ‘out there’. In a creative endeavour, there is much that is lost when you don’t share your work with others. For years, I hid in my own little hidey-hole, writing bits and bobs. Since nobody ever saw what I created, I was never held accountable for it. I had only my eyes to rely on, which gave a false image of both my quality and output.
Now, I’m not saying that I thought I was a brilliant writer due to my isolation. In fact, most of the time I considered it all pretty worthless. But despite that, I had a certain sense of superiority about it. I’d look it over, edit it (all were very short pieces), and would call it done. Looking back, without the input of others, my work was born and raised in a tiny bubble.
So I decided to put my work ‘out there’, in a sense. I made a free WordPress blog and started putting stories and descriptive pieces on it. It made me feel better, for a while, but I didn’t tell anyone about it. Not even people I knew on the internet. Only I and a few lost souls ever found the page, so it was basically useless.
I joined game projects where groups of volunteers would be trying to write a set of quests for an ‘upcoming’ game. This let me share writing with others, and share others’ writing, but I was still stuck in my own mind. I preferred my own ideas over everyone else’s, and was still reluctant to actually share creative pieces of my own. So my hobby waxed and waned (but mostly waned). It also added to the infinite ‘unfinished’ list that I’d developed throughout my lifetime.
It was only last year when I finally broke free of that, by getting a writing job. I’ve mentioned before how beneficial it was for me to be required to hand my drafts to someone else for the sole purpose of critiquing and correcting them. I’m an industry rookie, and although it wasn’t creative work, I was made to be vulnerable.
That singlehandedly changed my entire mindset. I started this blog a short while after, and while I don’t ‘market’ my content (as it’s not particularly marketable), I am unashamed of sharing it with my online circles. I’ve started using social media a little bit, and I’m not sitting there with a ‘what if I’m not perfect?’ bubble above my head.
I share my creative work. In the Writer’s Block community, I recently entered one of their competitions, and dozens of people read my entry. For the first time, I welcomed feedback and critique, rather than dreading it. I craved it, as it would tell me how to be a better writer. Sharing my work has led to me improving more in the last couple of months than I did for the years and years before it.
I still have a way to go. I’m yet to tie my full name and ‘real-world’ identity to my work, and I think that’s okay for now. I instead stay behind this URL and my online handle, but I still consider this a picture of me and my work. I consider it more of a costume than a curtain. I believe one day I’ll be confident enough to bring my real self into it, but for now, I’m happy with what I do share.