The Benefit of Not Sharing Every Single Thing You Write

This is why it’s okay to keep some of your writing private.


Thanks to Jackson for inspiring this post.

Writing is one of those skills that needs constant refining. We are never the best writers we can be. We may be the best we have ever been, but how much we have yet to grow is unfathomable. We only know that we want to grow, and need to grow, and so we’re constantly doing what we can to write better.

There are many ways to “get better” at writing. Usually, “getting better” means in part that you let go of the mindset that sharing your work with other people is scary, unsafe or unnecessary.

But not always.

Sometimes, keeping some of it for only you to hold becomes a practice that makes you not only a stronger writer, but a stronger human being.

Everyone processes emotions, organizes thoughts and picks apart situations using their own personal methodologies. We take bits and pieces of strategies and lessons from those we trust and respect and build from them our own coping mechanisms.

For some of us, that mechanism just so happens to be writing.

Is it wrong to enclose your thoughts in a journal or private blog reserved only for you? Is it wrong to selfishly conceal your thoughts and ideas from the world?

Of course not. You have at least one friend who shares TMI about themselves on social media or on their blog (if you still even follow them).

It’s quite possible that reserving some essays, some analyses, some reflections for only your eyes is the best career move you will ever make.

That thing you write and share with no one might be the best thing you have yet to and will ever write. Because when we strip away the possibility that someone will judge our work by its quality or for its deeper implications, we are left with only a blank page accessible only to ourselves. Interpretable only by our own intellectual capacities.

And on that blank page, we grant ourselves permission to transform thoughts and feelings into dangerous metaphors. To find the deeper meanings buried beneath our mannerisms. To unlock a more complex and complete understanding of where we have been, how that has brought us to where we are now, and where we desire to go next.

That being said, the next time you sit down to write something meant only for you, and weave together a thesis, a proposal, an essay, a manifesto of sorts, leave it in only your company for awhile as you originally planned.

Then go back to it later. Read through it again. Analyze it. Dissect and reassemble it.

What you have in front of you may very well be the absolute extent of what you are currently capable of creating.

Can you take what you have learned from the work you have crafted, the same one that will never meet the eyes of another, and extract from it bits and pieces of its finest elements? Can you transfer those elements over to the next project you put together for dozens, hundreds, even thousands of pairs of eyes to judge its quality, its implications, its worth?

Yes. You can. And you will.

Because that is how you might become the best writer you may ever be.

Image courtesy of Tyler Nienhouse/

Solution Saturday: I’m Afraid to Let Other People Read My Stuff


You consider yourself a writer. You’ve been writing for a long time, and even though everyone around you would say it’s impractical, you really do dream of becoming a successful author or journalist someday.

For starters, we’re certainly not here to crush your dreams: we fully support you and all your diction-saturated ambitions. We just have one question for you: why haven’t you ever shared your work with anyone before?

Yes, we know your secret. As much as you love writing and dream of doing it professionally, you’re afraid to let other people read what you write because … well, you don’t really know why, exactly. You just are.

Been there, done that. What you’re feeling is completely normal. And if you want to change your ways and overcome your fear, as always, we are here to help.

Solution 1: Recruit a designated reader

Just the thought of hundreds of people looking at your writing at once is enough to shy you away from stepping out of your literary comfort zone—so let’s not think of it that way. If you’ve never shared your work with anyone before, it’s probably a good idea to start with just one or two ‘designated readers’—people who you have asked, and who have stated they are willing, to read some of your writing.

If you’re worried about showing your work to strangers, you can rely on a close friend or family member who voices their interest in reading some (not all) of your writing. If you’re concerned a close friend or family member won’t give you honest feedback to avoid hurting your feelings, join a writing community and find one or several people who might be willing to give your work a once-over.

Solution 2: Create a Facebook group or page 

If you’re hesitant to ask a specific person to read your work, take a different route: designate a specific place on social media to put your work out there and let potential readers stumble upon it at their own will. You can do this a bit more subtly by creating a Facebook group or page where you post excerpts or links to your blog or portfolio for the public, or a select group of people, to see.

It’s up to you whether you make these ‘content hubs’ private and invite specific people or leave them public for anyone to find. We recommend creating a closed group and a public page, so that anyone interested in keeping up with your work can ask to join the group or follow (‘like’) your page. It’s also up to you whether, and/or how often, you promote these opportunities on your personal social media pages. Basically, whatever you’re comfortable with is what will work best for you.

Solution 3: Don’t force yourself to share everything

If your ultimate goal is to be more comfortable sharing your writing with other people, as with any ambition, start small. You don’t have to share everything you’ve ever written all at once. Go through your most recent pieces and pick out one or two you feel convey your best work and start there. If your designated reader or others ask to see more, when you’re ready, you can expand the amount of pieces you’re willing to share.

But if you don’t really want to share your work at all—and that’s okay with you—there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Sometimes writing can be a very private thing, or you write about personal experiences you don’t want other people to know about. That is 100 percent your choice, and no one can, or should, force you to let them read what you’ve written if you don’t feel comfortable.

Letting someone else read your story, poem, book chapter or article for the first time can be scary. But part of the process is learning how to accept positive and negative feedback and taking others’ suggestions into account when refining your skills and revising your work without taking them personally.

You are a writer, and you can and will do amazing things with your talent. But you cannot do it alone—and you shouldn’t have to.

Good luck. Never forget: your ideas do matter, and they deserve to be put into words.

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.