We all want to be better writers. Even if you’re really good—even if you’re skill as a writer has been verified through publication—you still want to get better. Or you should.
There’s the temptation to do it alone. The whole “recluse/hermit” kind of approach to it, like Pynchon or Salinger or any of the writers on the long antisocial list we’ve come to know and love. But the reality of the situation is that becoming a better writer requires being told when you’re not good, and no matter how impartial you believe yourself to be, you’ll never be as unbiased as a different set of eyes.
And for those of you who’re thinking that you’ll just read more to make up for not showing your writing to other writers—as if reading is the same as interacting and learning and getting critiqued—don’t even try it. It won’t work. It has its benefits, yes. You’ll pick up on style, rhythm, you’ll learn new words, but again, it just isn’t the same.
If there’s something stopping you from sharing your writing with other writers, it is in your best interests to get over it and get over it quickly. The best writers have hired editors—you know this. The best writers have writer friends with which they share their work. You know this as well. Simple reasoning should tell you that if you want to be one of the best writers you know, you’re going to have to follow suit. There is not anything noble about trying to go it alone. You’ll just end up squandering your own potential.
So show people what you write, let them rip it apart. Let them shit on your favorite sentence. You’ll be better off.
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