If this feels like a big responsibility and scary, well, it is. Only you, as the poet/writer/artist can decide when and if you are ready to go public with your work. Admitting to someone that you are a writer or poet, often elicits the question “Have you published anything?” The questioner doesn’t get it–the reason(s) behind your writing or art-making. First and foremost, it has to be for yourself. Being published is a goal though it doesn’t make you a writer or poet. It is through your daily practice and developmental process that the writer and poet in you grows and lends validity to what you do–write. You really don’t need to explain this to anyone. However, it’s important that you understand this.
That said, going public is a big thing for a writer. Once you’ve made the declaration, told several people that you are writing a book or that you are a poet, you’ve become visible in a different way. This could feel like something grand to live up to.
Anaïs Nin‘s famous quote:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Every womb becomes too “tight” as you personally grow and evolve. You know best when it’s time to birth your writing, poetry or art into the world.
There are safe “entry” points for sharing your work. A relatively new and trusted woman friend once asked me to read every poem I’d ever written to her. She wanted to know me better and what my life had been. My poetry is what has been termed “personal poetry”. One afternoon, we took a quiet couple of hours and I read my life on paper to her. She was the perfect audience–present, receptive, without judgment. It was, for me, a welcoming and validating experience.
PROMPT: Are you ready to go public? What would that look like? Is there a venue locally where you could safely share your writing? Some possible venues are: A round robin reading at a coffee house; an intimate gathering with a few other friends who write and want to practice reading aloud for an audience; your own poetry circle; an open mic or your own blog. You can also begin with sharing one poem, a piece of prose or a painting with a trusted friend. Can you think of other ways to comfortably begin sharing your work?
“Courage starts with showing up
and letting ourselves be seen.”
Brene Brown, Researcher, Story-Teller, Author, Lecturer