What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I’m a little puzzled by the word “aspiring.” I guess it indicates that there’s a success level a writer might be “aspiring” to, or getting published in itself. For me, since I’m self-published, there’s no aspiring about it. I write. But I’ve heard those struggling to adopt writing into their lives, as an ongoing endeavor, say things like “I feel stuck” or I’m going in circles, or “I can’t untangle the huge amount I’ve written over the past ten years.”

I’ve posted a bit on writing groups. I’ll say it again. Share your work. Famous writers of the past had cadres of fellow writers they bounced ideas and writing off of. I don’t suggest trying to be an island, or a vacuum. People picture that it has to be done alone to truly be theirs, untainted by others. But that’s just not how it is. We read others’ work. We share ideas every day. We still bring about something unique when we write. What’s it about, really? It’s about what writing adds to our lives. If you spend a preponderance of time worrying that someone might steal an idea of yours, you only rob yourself of the richness of having writing in your life, of freely producing, crafting, unburdened by such suspicions.

Upshot? Do it. And don’t do it alone. I can’t imagine writing by myself, not sharing every week. I wouldn’t still be writing if that were the case for me. I’m blessed with writing group members who appreciate my stories. But the act of sharing in itself is immense. We read our own words and begin to own them. We hear them in a different way when reading to others.

Shout your words to the world, or at least to your little cadre of fellow scribblers. Get the feedback, hone your craft. Find the jewels that can burble up from your soul. I suspect if you’re sharing every week, you won’t find yourself stuck, or work in a tangle. At least that’s been true for me.

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