- Books, Literature, and Writing
To Share your Writings or not to Share: that is the question
Why do writers dwell on the question ?
A question that pervasively visits all writers regardless of their advancement, their style of writings, or even ability to write. The minute a person grabs a pen or starts pressing keystrokes on a keyboard to disseminate opinions, facts or mere ideas, the absolute question pops up.Should I publish my writings?
Is it good enough to be seen? Should I simmer it some more? or -the most tempting- should I just through it all away? The daunting question either kills your passion at the crib or causes you to publish anonymously.
In my personal opinion, the main reason one would hide their uncensored thoughts is FEAR. That is not to say, that fear is always harmful for sometimes certain things look better behind curtains.
No doubt that the causes vary and are not necessarily negative but the ultimate result of all the reasons is FEAR. You could be afraid of your thoughts peeling layers of your personality thus revealing that hidden side to at least a few readers you'd least want to share general things with, let alone personal things.
You could be afraid of voicing your passion out loud, since your ignited passion could backfire at you causing unjust retaliation. Or maybe you are like me ashamed of the quality of those writings. I remember when I started taking baby steps towards writing, I had the burden of literature's development on my shoulders. I thought I should spare the world an awful writer who disseminated ideas weakly.
Looking back, it seems like my ego was totally in charge of my perspective. I thought I lacked pride in my writings but it seems like my ego was deceiving. The inflated pride convinced me that I could single handedly ruin it for all readers out there. That my weak dissemination of knowledge would ruin literature. It seems like my ego thought that it was going to suck a readership of thousands who will all get scarred to life once they read my lacking articles.
I adapted Virginia Woolf's saying from "A room of one's own". She says
"How small, how insignificant this thought of mine looked; the sort of fish that a good fisherman puts back into the water so that it may grow fatter and be one day worth cooking and eating".
Sometimes waiting for a fish to grow is a must but you don't want to over do it and end up with an empty bucket. You wait and you wait and instead of simmering your writing, you end up burning them all the way down leaving a dark stain over your pan.
Sometimes you choose to switch into anonymity due to a particular experience. One that caused you severe ill effects. And although my writings are not that strong to leave me ill effects, I know exactly how it feels to publish something and then have amplified personal shame banging the door.
I always have two inner critiques, one appears before anything is published and likes what it labelled as master. I like this critique. The other judge only appears after I would have just published a piece or shared it with some one. This critique pleads me to stop putting absolute crap on papers. But it turns out that it is not just me who receives those visits for Margaret Cavendish herself expressed this syndrome in her poem "The Hasty Resolution":
The Hasty Resolution - I guess it's not just me or you out there questioning the quality of ur work !!!
Reading my verses, I liked them so well,
Self-love did make my judgment to rebel.
Thinking them so good, I thought more to write;
Considering not how others would them like.
I writ so fast, I thought, if I lived long,
A pyramid of fame to build thereon.
Reason observing which way I was bent,
Did stay my hand, and asked me what I meant;
Will you, said she, thus waste your time in vain,
On that which in the world small praise shall gain?
For shame, leave off, said she, the printer spare,
He'll lose by your ill poetry, I fear.
Besides the world hath already such a weight Of useless books,
as it is overfraught.
Then pity take, do the world a good turn,
And all you write cast in the fire, and burn.
Angry I was, and Reason struck away,
When I did hear, what she to me did say.
Then all in haste I to the press it sent,
Fearing persuasion might my book prevent.
But now tis done, with grief repent do I,
Hang down my head with shame, blush, sigh, and cry.
Take pity, and my drooping spirits raise, Wipe off my tears with handkerchiefs of praise.
On the contrary to the previous reasons, one would write in anonymity to offer ghostwriting services. In which case you are not ashamed or afraid of your writings but you would rather provide writing services to others. You choose to help others become authors themselves in return of agreed benefits.
Like all my articles, this one doesn't offer a clear conclusion. I like to put out everything that I know and then leave the rest to you. But if you are reluctant about publishing your works because you know that it is not the best out there or because you are afraid of how your friends or family would react, keep two things in mind.
The first thing is that you are ought to start somewhere and unless you are one of those really gifted people, your writings might not inspire humanity. They might not put the smile or the tear you intended to add on your readers' faces but if they are written from your heart, they will most likely allow you to release your uncensored thoughts out -even the ones you didn't know existed-.
The second thing is that luckily none of us are at the centre of the universe. Think of it this way, you are not the first or last to express yourself using literature and thus it couldn't hurt the universe one more lousy piece. ;-) And literature is NOT going to go down the drain if you write another novel that starts with another form of "It was a dark and stormy night ..."