Every writer passes through the closet phase at a point or another. Some never leave, others stay only for a while, some just breeze through.
It is hard for a writer, some more than others, to face rejection or ridicule for something he/she spent a lot of time and effort working on. A family member will be biased, encourage even if the writing is something worth a wince. And so the writer prefers not to risk the possibility of failure, instead staying cooped in the closet, secretly writing the words in their mind, the sentiments of their heart.
But what is a writer in the closet?
Certainly not a two by two locked room with a lonely person hunched before a screen.
A writer in the closet is a writer who has yet to emerge to the public.
There are two types of writers in the closet:
- The one who loves to write but thinks he can never be successful, never putting to words all the stories that plays in his/her head;
- The one who for some reason or another feels intimidated by the idea of sharing his/her writing with someone else.
This doesn’t mean that a writer in the closet is an unsuccessful one, on the contrary, there are healthy benefits for starting a writing career in the closet.
A writer who writes with no intention to showcase their work to anyone (unless it becomes a bestseller) puts all their heart’s content in their work, unconstrained by any social or community standard.
In other words, a writer who wants to meet everyone’s expectations won’t write as well as if there was no one to please but himself.
So the closet is a good place to start up your career, but never a good place to stay for long.
How can a writer leave their comfortable zone and face all the indulgent smiles, the support that will carry no belief in them or their work?
In this day and age of technology, it is easier for a writer in the closet to step out and present their work to a virtual stranger than a friend or a family member.
A writer who wants to come out and is uncertain of where to go should first seek those writers who are facing, or have faced this same dilemma.
Those writers, along with writing coaches, advisors, and successful writers who had once been in the closet can be found in writing communities, forums, critique groups, even beta reader groups.
Secondly, test the waters. The writer should try to share some of his/her work.
There are bound to be rejections and critique and bad feedback, as it’s natural not everyone likes to read the same thing; but accepting the negative feedback is a topic for a later issue.
Finally, the writer should never compare his/her writing, or their method of writing with someone else’s.
First and foremost, the writer must believe in their writing, be comfortable and confident that it is as good as he/she can make it.
For more great articles on the writer’s life see: