When a critique partner reads my work aloud, I feel naked. Exposed. Not even an octopus has enough arms to cover all the embarrassing parts.
Although it makes me uncomfortable, I realize this is essential to the publishing process. Here are some benefits to letting it all hang out:
- Detecting funky flow. If the reader stumbles over a sentence, it probably needs cosmetic surgery or amputation. Unless you meet over margaritas. Then you can expect the stumbling.
- Laughing together at the blemishes. If we have the right attitude, laughing together over the ugly parts helps take the sting out. Plus, our writer friends are willing to help replace that hairy mole with something of the Cindy Crawford kind.
- Elephant Skin. Writers need thick skin. We want people to read and enjoy our books, but it'll take time and polish to get them ready. Most critique partners offer free makeovers in the form of helpful analysis. See this great post about handling criticism effectively.
Listening to my own words isn't as intimidating as it used to be. Sure, I'm still embarrassed, but I recognize that it's part of the game and I need to get over it.
Can you add any benefits to someone else reading your work out loud? Are your words still buried under a trench coat, or are you a naked writer?