Writing Life: Sharing Your Work in Progress

I’ve hinted at maybe doing a post about the ups and downs of sharing your work in progress in my NaNoWriMo update from last week, so I hope you are up for some insights on this topic! First off, I want to start by pointing out that I don’t mean to say that everyone should share their WIPs, whether it be in public or in private. I understand that not every writer feels comfortable, ready or willing to share their story in the early stages and that is perfectly alright! You do you and always follow your gut! This is just my personal experience.

              

Writing was always a lonely task to me. Of course, I got to meet all these wonderful characters for the first time and they miraculously somehow came from my brain, which was always incredibly hard to believe. I feel pure excitement whenever I dive into a new story, but at the same time I just want to share that with SOMEONE out there. Every time, I kept a story to myself, I started to procrastinate hard at some point until I was lacking motivation to continue at all. This is clearly an issue concerning lack of discipline on my part, but I found a way to counteract that by sharing my work as I go along with friends, family and sometimes even strangers. And when I say I share my work, I am not talking official beta readers or critique partners, but just people who may or may not comment on what they just read. Obviously, as I mentioned in my opening statement, this is not for everyone so here are a couple pros and cons of the experience:

THE PROS

  • The absolute best motivation I have ever found to continue writing is the constant encouragement of strangers as well as friends who have read and loved my words. They want to know how the story continues, so I want to keep providing them with entertainment and answers to questions as well as new mysteries as I go along. I truly adore everyone who has ever taken the time to read what I have written. It’s not perfect and I appreciate that they stuck with me nonetheless.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to stay objective as a writer. I encourage all my readers to give me suggestions if they notice something that isn’t quite right and I have realised that my first instinct is to get defensive (but that’s the beauty of being online, you don’t have to respond asap and that feeling can go away), but then I can see the value in having a fresh set of eyes on my writing. You don’t HAVE to take all their suggestions into account, that’s not the point of it all, but it’s good to hear different opinions.

THE CONS

  • Sharing your work publicly involves a lot of trust, so you have to find a way that makes you feel safe in the process. There are various platforms that allow you to share your stories to a broader audience, like wattpad, where I uploaded all my current chapters for Arcadia and Dreamer (click on the titles to read the stories). There are guidelines among the community members that forbid copying content, but obviously nothing is ever foolproof. My current #witchyWIP isn’t on there, not because I have made bad experiences, but simply because I didn’t want to share it with all the world for now, but rather an exclusive circle of friends. I chose Google Docs for that, as it still allows people to comment and has great options for security purposes. It’s just a matter of finding the right platform that works for YOU!
  • Waiting for someone to read your work and actually react to it can be torture! People have lives and they don’t just wait in front of a screen to read my very random story updates. However, the longer the wait to hear from just about anyone is, the more the questions start to plague my mind – What if no one likes it? What if they don’t feel like they can tell me if they don’t like it? What if I shouldn’t have written that part? What if … None of that necessarily has to reflect on your story though. Sometimes it’s just a matter of lack of time and it’s also difficult to hold a reader’s interest if you don’t continue the story regularly. Like, I completely understand that some people might not want to wait a month for a new chapter.

In the end it all comes down to what feels right for you as a writer. Maybe you don’t want share your work until you’ve reached draft 15, but maybe you need that encouragement and interest from the outside to get through writing draft 1. Whichever type you are, I just know that I personally love nothing more than getting reactions be it in comments, people screaming at me in my DMs (always welcome by the way) or just sending me gifs and aesthetics for chapters. It’s what keeps me going and that’s why I am so grateful for all the people who take the time to read my work!


This is it from my little writing insight this time! Do you sometimes share your unfinished work? How are you all doing on your WIPs? Who is still going strong on their NaNo project? Let’s chat!

28 thoughts on “Writing Life: Sharing Your Work in Progress

  1. I’ve been working on a bunch of smaller projects rather than a NaNo project. Thankfully, those are going very well. I’m making my way through a novelette right now that I’ve been struggling on and off with for three years, and I think this time I might get a rough draft I’m satisfied with. Here’s hoping that when it’s done, I’ll feel like this is the draft that could eventually get published.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a fun topic! I was just thinking yesterday how when I was in high school I let my close friends read my stories and those were all first drafts. Lol I didn’t know anything. And this year is the first time I’ve ever shared my work publicly and I actually took down posts because they were too personal

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still like to share my work, but now more with people not in my real life (so no one from uni or work) but rather friends from the internet or even strangers. It’s odd, because like you, I used to share it with my close friends from school all the time when I was younger. I get wanting to take down posts though, I’ve definitely edited stuff after posting it as well sometimes.
      Thank you so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think that makes a lot of sense about wanting to share your work- as much as I really don’t like to do it, I don’t write without a sense of an audience and I think that most writers have a burning desire to ultimately share their work. And I think that it’s great to hear feedback and get suggestions. And yeah I really think the trust issue is a huge one, so it makes sense to share some stories more widely than others. And gosh I’m sorry to contribute to the waiting aspect (just know it’s not cos I don’t want to, I just don’t want to do it when I’m tired/can’t concentrate as well and time is always a factor!) So great to hear your thoughts on this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t feel bad about that!! I didn’t mean to call anyone out and I didn’t think of anyone specifically when I wrote that part. I just wanted people to be aware that even with close friends and such, just because you put something out there, it won’t mean there’s an immediate reaction to it.

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  4. Thank you SO much for sharing your insight on this, Kat, I’m so happy you wrote this post ❤ As you know, I've been considering sharing my next draft a bit more wider – for now, only my sister has read a full draft of my story, but it's hard to feel ready to face other people, too… but I guess that also is a huge encouragement, too. I find myself so nervous every time I share a little something, even just aesthetics or one snippet somewhere, haha, but it's also so encouraging when people are giving positive feedback and encouragement, I love that so much and the support means a whole lot. I don't think I'll ever share a first draft of anything, I'd be way too nervous, but once I gain a bit more trust in my story like I kind of am right now, I might 🙂
    I had subscribed to wattpad, but I think that the wider audience made me way too nervous to continue on it for now haha 🙂
    Oh and the questions you ask yourself, I completely agree about that even if I haven't shared my work yet hahaha I ask myself tons of questions just about snippets or aesthetics sometimes, it makes me sooo nervous haha 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your insight on this, this is really helpful! I think when I'll share something I'll do it like you did, with a small circle of trusted friends at first 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think aesthetics are the only thing I don’t worry about haha but I am glad you liked my post and understood where I was coming from. I think you’ve gotten great feedback from all the people on your blog posts so far, so I am sure whenever you decide to share it with a bit of a broader audience it will be fine too 😀 I am always rooting for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a brilliant post Kat, and I loved reading your thoughts as well. I definitely admire you’re willing to share your WIPs with people, one day I’d like to do that myself but my mind keeps focusing on the cons (the main one being putting my WIP, something I’ve worked really hard on and put so much of my time and myself into, out into the world and waiting for people to judge it). I will one day, I feel like it’s important to get feedback to make yourself a better writer, but I’m just slowly working my way up to it. I’ve started with posting snippets and I guess I’ll see where it goes from there. 😀
    Again great post. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! People have gone so far as to call me brave for sharing my work, but I have to be honest that it just feels really natural for me. Of course, there’s a lot of nerves involved and I am not the most patient person either, but overall I just NEED other people to somehow be involved. I doubt myself way too much otherwise. (Basically I am saying I need other people’s approval 24/7 haha)
      It’s definitely important to just generally get feedback though. I guess it doesn’t have to be in the middle of writing the first draft though haha

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  6. I can 10/10 relate! I did Camp NaNoWriMo this past summer and had a similar expereince. I’ve also worked on Wattpad in the past, but never posted original content there. While I know there are some authors who have gotten published through Wattpad, I just didn’t want to take that route with my novel because it seemed all too possible for the story to get lost as “another Wattpad story”. Maybe things have changed over the last few years, though. With NaNo, I totally agree about the anxiety over waiting for reviews while also being super excited (albeit just a bit defensive) to hear what those reviews say! One great system I have for sharing my work that has felt especially secure is through PDFs. You can use Google, sure, but if you convert your document into PDF format, no one can take your name off of it or change anything in it etc. Maybe you’d prefer that reviewers ARE able to type in comments, but for me this keeps a certain amount of control in my hands after I’ve sent the work to someone else’s computer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually did share some of my work in pdf form with some people, but since I share my work in progress as I am writing it, it’s more tiresome to update the pdf file and send it to a bunch of people for one chapter rather than just update the google doc, if you know what I mean 🙂 But I am glad you could relate to my post! Thank you so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a great post Kat!! 😍 I haven’t really shared more than snippets for a long time, as I’m very secretive about my writing 😂 I’m always a bit nervous to put my words out there, because I’m not that good with writing, or at least that’s what it feels like 😱

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! That’s alright. Not everyone feels as comfortable as me sharing their stuff and that is totally legitimate as well 🙂 But I am sure your writing is great and you don’t need to worry about it. I don’t think I am a great writer either haha

      Liked by 1 person

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