Letting Others Read Your Work: A Guest Post By Hanna Rothfuss


June 26, 2017


   Hey, all! I'm only popping in for a quick second, because I'm not the one posting today ;). Instead, my awesome and talented writer-friend Hanna Rothfuss from Taking My Time is here to talk to y'all about letting others read your writing - which, in my experience, is both terrifying and completely worth it xD. Shall we let her get on with it, then?



   Hello, readers! I’m barging into Savannah’s blog today to talk about a scary subject: letting others read your work. It’s a question every writer has to ask at some point or another, even if they don’t really know they’re asking it: Should I let others read my writing?

   I didn’t happen to ask myself this question for a long time. I started making up stories before I learned how to write, so my “writing” career started by dictating to a family member. As I began writing myself, I continued to let my family read my stories. I was blessed with a very supportive, encouraging family and the idea of letting others read my stories didn’t scare me. (As long as I didn’t have to read them out loud--something I still struggle with!) Everyone told me they were great, and I was a great writer.

   When I started a blog when I was thirteen, it only felt natural to start posting stories. It wasn’t until then that I realized how scary sharing your work can be.

   I got upset once when someone critiqued my writing. When I told my Dad about it, he said there will always be people who dislike my writing. He added that there will probably always be people who say so. I think this is true for all writers. So does that mean we shouldn’t let others read our work? Should we just write for ourselves and bury our precious papers in a drawer? Or--safer yet!--keep our thoughts inside our heads and quit writing?

   My answer to these questions is a resounding no. This post contains two reasons why.


1. It Helps The Author 


   Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.” One reason I believe it’s invaluable to let others read your work is how helpful it can be. Handing someone something you wrote and asking them to look for problems is hard--especially if you think they’ll actually do it! But having proofreaders makes your story so much better. Having a second person to tell you if something makes sense or if something is grammatically correct makes your writing better. (Just now, I typed your instead of you’re. If my word processor hadn’t caught it and underlined it in red, I probably wouldn’t have noticed!)

   It’s also a good idea to ask people with more life experience than you to proofread. They can coach you through writing things you’ve never felt or done. In the last story I posted on my blog, my main character was a hunter. I asked my parents to proofread it before I posted it. After reading the first chapter, my Dad and I sat down to talk about it. He said, “Hanna, you’ve never shot a deer.” We went back through the scene and revised it with Dad’s added experience deer hunting in mind. I had written from the point of my knowledge of archery. With my Dad’s added knowledge, we came up with something much better than I had done alone. One of my friends even e-mailed me after I posted the story on my blog and asked if I had ever been bowhunting!

   Before we move on to point two, there’s one more thing I want to say about proofreaders: Needing proofreaders doesn’t make you a bad writer, or your story unoriginal. Trust me, your proofreaders couldn’t sit down and write your story without you! No one else can write your story.


2. It Blesses The Readers

   What is it that makes sharing your work so scary in the first place? Well, people can love it, or they can hate it. To be honest, they both scare me. It hurts when people dislike your work, but others loving it almost scares me more.

   Because when you share a story, it’s not all yours anymore. I mean, it’s still your story, you’re the author, and you probably know it better than anyone else. But you’re not the only one that loves it and cares about it anymore. If someone loves your story, they’ll claim it. I feel a sense of possessiveness about my favorite stories--that book is my copy, that series is my favorite. I love them, and it makes me sad when others dislike them. When people fall in love with your world or your characters, they’ll get protective too. They might even get mad at you if you’re not nice to their favorite character.

   And it scares me a bit to let my stories out of my control like that.

   But I still share my work, because I know it blesses others. Think of your favorite book. Now ask yourself: What if the author had gotten scared and just not written and/or published that story? Scary thought, huh? I’ve read early-draft stories that weren’t even completely edited, and still been inspired by them. Stories bless people, writers! Please share them with us.

   *applauds* That was super insightful, thanks for sharing it with us, Hanna! I've had a couple of betas and alphas for Killing Snow, and even though it's so scary to let my work out of my hands - even for only a few weeks! - it's always worth it in the end!  

   Now, scamper on over to Hanna's blog, Taking My Time, and check out the guest post that I did over there! ((especially if you're a fan of Lord Of The Rings or Narnia ;))

~ Savannah Grace

   Have you ever had proofreaders or beta readers (or any other eyes than yours) go over your story? How did it go? Go ahead and ask Hanna any questions you have in the comments!

26 comments :

  1. It was really really hard to let my stories go outside of my friends (I didn't really let my family read them until just recently). In the end, it really helped my writing improve and now that I'm publishing some stories on my blog, I'm getting extra encouragement and help.

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. It's so neat you've started sharing your stories already, Catherine, that's wonderful! I'm glad you've found the feedback helpful.

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  2. Letting others read my work is always nerve-wracking, but like you said, it helps the writer. Right now I'm in the stage of letting family friends review it, and I have to keep reminding myself that this is a good thing, and they aren't going to hate it (and even if they did, I could learn from it). Being a writer is scary. XD

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    1. Being a writer IS scary! I love being a writer, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows! It can be SO hard to share your stories, so good job for doing it all the same!

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  3. EEEEEEPPP, OMW, HANNA AND SAVANNAH, I LOOOOOOVVEEEDD THIIIIISS!!!!!!!!!!!! *hugs the post*
    Yes, sharing your writing is quite terrifying, but also AWESOME. I used to write stories, and sometimes, I still do. ;)
    AWESOME post, girls!! <3ed it!
    Jaidyn Elise

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    1. Thanks, Jai! I'm glad you enjoyed it! <3

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  4. Such a great post, Hanna! Several of my friends would always tease me how I never showed off my writing (although some of these friends know I blog) and honestly, I try not to because it's super awkward when it's the people closest to you are beta reading, at times and they're busy fangirling over your novel but then you know something happens with some characters (bad things) that you just awkwardly smile. But critique is a huge part of the writing process, and if it's something that you can't do but you want to break into publishing, it's a fear you'd need to get over, fast!

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

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    1. Thanks, Abigail! That can be awkward! I've had people threaten me (playfully, of course :-P) about giving a character a happy ending, when I wasn't sure they'd be satisfied with the ending. It did feel a bit awkward. But when people fangirl, at least that means they like your characters! It can be scary though.

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    1. Thanks so much, Clara! That's really encouraging.

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  6. THANKS FOR THIS POST!!
    It was greaaat <3

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    1. Thank you, Arya Lynn, I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

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  7. I love this post!! I can definitely relate of it being scary/exciting when sharing your story!!

    I'll try to read your post soon, Savannah! (I <3 Narnia and even watched th e movie "Prince Caspian" today.) :D

    - Lilly Shyree (alillyingodsgarden.blogspot.com)

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    1. Thanks, Lilly! I'm glad you liked it!

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  8. This post was fantastic! And so important. I mean, most of us writers aim to be published, so getting used to people reading our work is kind of a necessary step. XD But really, it can be SO scary. I used to be terrified of the idea, and hid all my stories away in the dark recesses of my computer. But over the years I little by little started letting people read my stuff, and now I actually LIKE getting feedback--good OR bad. With each piece of feedback, it helps me grow as a writer, improve my story. It excites me to know how I can make my stories the best they can be.

    So yes, it can be very scary, but it's so, so worth it! I love how you put it into two categories: It helps us the authors AND can impact the readers. What a beautiful way of looking at it.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us, Hanna!

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    1. Thanks, Christine! I'm so glad you liked it! It's neat that you can enjoy getting feedback! It probably comes with practice. It's still hard for me sometimes, but I can see it's making my stories much better.
      Thanks again for taking the time to leave an encouraging comment!

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  9. I totally agree!! Thank you for sharing this! <3

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    1. Thanks, Madeline! Glad you liked it!

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  10. Great post, Hanna! Thank you!
    I've only recently begun to share my writing, and I'm already starting to see some amazing things come of it.

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    1. Thanks so much, Blue! Good for you for sharing your work! I'm glad it's been helpful.

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  11. Thanks so much for this post! I actually love letting people read my work - they always find thing that I never thought of, and I know that they are helping me make my story better! (It helps that I have a great writing group: they are so supportive and encouraging even as they rip my story to shreds!) Sometimes I have to take a step back and tell myself "it's not going to be perfect, and you need to remember that. They don't hate the story, they just want it to make sense." :)

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    1. It's so neat you can take that step back and accept critiques, since you have such a good outlet to share your work!

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  12. Love it!!!!!!!! Great post!!!

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    1. Thank you, glad you liked it! <3
      Maybe you should start sharing your stories... *hint hint* ;)

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  13. I actually just sent my 2nd draft to my two best friends to review. Definitely scary, but I'm excited to see what they say about it. Thanks for the post, Hanna!

    teensliveforjesus.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm glad you liked it, Sofia Marie! I hope you get helpful feedback! Sending it to good friends first can be a good idea--I have my parents proofread everything first.

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