When Does Writing Becomes Art?
During my daughter's last year of college she took a writing course. She had been writing since she was a little girl, but she only ever shared her work with close friends and family. One day, her college professor posed a question to the class. When does writing become art?
An immediate answer comes to mind. Writing becomes are when the author puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, in other words, at the moment of creation. The professor suggested an alternate answer.
Art is not created until a work is shared with the public, until then it's just writing.
It gave me pause when my daughter shared the professor's statement with me. After all, it is not uncommon for writers of all genres to spend years writing snippets here and stories there, without ever sharing their work.
I'm not knocking writers who choose not to share their stories. There are too many reasons under the sun why they may not want to share their writing:
- People might judge them.
- People might misunderstand them.
- People might not like what they wrote.
I get it. It's challenging when you think about all the possible ramifications of sharing your work. All you have to do is take a look at social media to see someone getting pounded over something they've written. They may have expressed a controversial opinion, expressed sympathy or empathy for an unpopular political or entertainment figure, or simply expressed an idea inelegantly. Social media can be brutal.
Fortunately, you don't have to share your work on social media in order to move into the space where art is created. There are a lot of ways to share your writing outside of social media.
Join a local writer's group. Local writers groups get together on a regular basis, often weekly or biweekly, to read and critique each other's work. Writer's groups are great resources for learning about new writing and organizational tools and techniques and for getting ideas when you get stuck. Check your local library, community center, or bookstores to see if any groups meet there.
Join an online writer's group. Online writer's groups function less formally than in-person groups, but the advantage is that you may find someone online at any hour of the day or night. Also, you can get feedback more quickly than you can if you have to wait for the next face-to-face meeting with an in-person group. Online writer's groups with moderators are best because they can control the trolling better than moderated groups can. A Google search will turn up a few online groups geared toward your genre or other area of interest.
Start a blog. Starting a blog can be a great way to get accustomed to the idea of other people reading your writing. You don't have to promote your blog unless or until you are ready to do so, but writing in such a public fashion can help you to get over the emotions that hold you back from sharing your writing with others. Feel free to disable commenting if you want to deal with unsolicited feedback. I'm a big Word Press fan but BlogSpot and any number of other tools will serve the purpose just as well.
The important thing is not how you share your writing with the world. The important thing is that you do share your story. You never know how many lives you might touch by opening up and sharing your writing with the world.