Friday Fun — Do you share your work with your partner or spouse?

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: Do you share your work with your partner or spouse?


wendy-shotWendy Thomas: I have a *few* select friends with whom I am willing to share a work-in-progress. My WIPs all feel so naked and exposed – they tend to initially be so raw that I can’t bear the thought of my spouse (as much as I love him) making comments or pointing out mistakes. Instead, I share my work with a few other writer friends who’s opinions and skill I wholeheartedly trust. It takes a long time to build up that kind of a relationship, but once you have it, it’s golden.

As far as my other work, well it’s on the internet, in essence I share that with everyone. No worries there (in fact sometimes I will text my husband and say “You have GOT to read today’s post!!!”

hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus: I have found that showing my work to people who love me isn’t the best way to get feedback. Not that I can’t bear the idea of their thoughts on my WIP, but more that they hold back a bit, or think everything is wonderful. If I did get honest feedback (that character is flat), I would probably tend towards defensiveness, which isn’t helpful.

My sharing circle is small, and trusted. And a group I’ve developed over time.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: When I used to show my writing to my husband, I’d get comments like, “it’s good” or “I liked it.” Since those comments were not especially helpful, I stopped showing my writing to him. Then he started writing more and we started having conversations about writing. So I showed him my writing again, asking for specific feedback, and his comments, while still succinct, were very helpful. He’s never going to line edit what I write, but he’s very helpful when I ask him, “Does this flow well?” or “Does this feel like I’m trying to make more than one point?” or even, “Does this make sense?”

My twin sister is my go-to reader. I’ll show her anything I’m working on and her feedback is always helpful and very detail-oriented. She spots typos in pieces I’ve read too many times to see the mistakes.

My critique group is also very helpful with my writing. I work on my fiction, even first drafts with them.

In reading this over, I see how lucky I am in all the people I have who I trust to read my work.


28 thoughts on “Friday Fun — Do you share your work with your partner or spouse?

  1. Very interesting post! My mother is my editor, critic and number 1 fan! She’s got a great eye and also a great laugh so if she laughs while reading something I have written, I know it’s ready for publishing!

  2. Diane: I love the fact that your twin sister is your go to editor. I have 12 year old twin sons, who are best friends. I KNOW they will do something together someday because they do everything together now. It always makes me happy when I hear about adult twins working together.


    PS: If I were my own editor, I’d delete a few “togethers”

  3. My husband will read it, but I know he will not give me all the honest opinions on what needs to be changed. There are a few people in my local area who I trust their opinions to be very helpful. These are my go to people, but when I need a cheerleader to tell me everything will be fine, I let the hubby have a look. It picks up my spirits.

  4. My husband’s comments on my writing tend to be brief. I get “I like it.” and “It’s fine”. Unfortunately, I also sometimes get statements like “Are you still working on that?” I find it best to share text with my writing group and not individually with my spouse. We both write and are in the same group. Having multiple people listen to our pieces gives more opportunity for feedback (both positive and negative). It’s easier to solicit opinions from friends and even strangers because I’m less hung-up on their approval. Family is tough.

  5. Excellent question. Yes and No, my husband is the only one who knows that I have ventured out to begin sharing my Bipolar process. Because he has suffered in many ways along side me and is incredibly supportive, I don’t feel worried about him having full access but I told him I’d prefer to mention bits and pieces of my posts and “conversations” with others on the site. The fact that he couldn’t be less educated about blogs, how to find them, etc. not to mention the fact that he knows this is my private part of my journey he is, as always, gracious and respectful of my privacy.

  6. I am hoping to start writing seriously and would like some advice please ?
    As someone who is just beginning to put down thoughts and ideas how would you suggest I progress ?
    I am considering a creative writing course.
    Do you have any recommendations please ?

    Many thanks
    Steve Bridges

  7. I started dating someone recently and one of the things that made me agree to date him was the fact that he gave me detailed feedback on the stories i have on my blog. Most people i know tell me “Its great” unless they are writers themselves so it was delightfully refreshing to have someone be honest with me. I now know that I can build a story up wonderfully, but my endings need a little work. Hopefully i will keep getting better and better.

  8. I love this question! I just recently started writing again. My husband has never known me as RedtheWriter. He knows RedtheSexyMama, RedtheNagger, RedtheDinnerCooker really well. But RedtheWriter is a mystery to him. I was actually pondering of this very question recently – should I let him read my work? Will he hate it? If he does, will he tell me? I mean, I do make his dinner. I could easily poison him if he was too critical. (Just kidding…kinda….) He is very interested in what I am doing for all these hours bent over the keyboard. So maybe just once, I give him a look-see? Not sure yet. But I appreciate that you have shared the question, and the others who have chimed it.

  9. My wife and I both write. She has recently self-published a memoir and my first novel is due to be published in April. I’m currently a third of the way through the sequel and she’s halfway through a novel. Whether it is short stories, newspaper articles or the longer works, we both share all the time. We help each other with the knotty problems and the minor successes, we offer the word which just won’t come, we suggest plot ideas and we edit and proof read each other’s babies. It might seem a little sad but much of our conversation is littered with discussion about our writing. Once a fortnight we both share our latest offering in a writers’ group and this will often be the first time we’ve heard that particular section or piece, but the chat, comments and positive criticism starts as soon as we’re in the car on the way home.
    Some writers never share before the work is finished. I’m not sure either of us could do it that way.
    Thanks for a great question.

  10. Interesting. My partner can be really critical but in a good way. They wont let me submit a piece of work that they dont think is my best work. So they would rather tell me where things need improving. It almost means that when i do get a compliment from them i know ive done well! 🙂 i also have two friends i can show my work too as well. 🙂

  11. It’s always nice to have another opinion about everything in general. It helps to see my works in different perspective and notice details that normally would escape my over critical eyes. Sometimes, we are so focus in one thing that we forget some important or minor details that can make or break the piece. Yes, I share my work with my partner.

  12. I do not share my work with my spouse. In fact, the prospect brings about some anxiety. I, however, have friends who will ask to read my work, want to know what’s upcoming, or even asked to be featured.

    And that is half of a handful. Yeah, I have not yet felt completely secure in putting my work out in the wide world.

  13. My wife is my copy editor and good writer herself so she gives me very valuable feedback. So she see everything I am thinking of sending out to the world. I rarely show her works in progress – unless I am stuck and need someone to talk to about it.

  14. I have had several writing “partners” and some of them were helpful and some were not. It has been the same for writing groups, which I find hard to find a spot in here in Portland, OR.–we are overrun with writers! :). Still looking for the great critic and support system! My spouse generally no longer reads my writing–he has had some good iinput at times but overall is too general in his commentary. But he does cheer me on!

  15. My husband is a mechanical engineer, so his writing advice tends toward the mechanical. He will read an essay and say, “Is that a sentence fragment?, when what I wanted was for him to talk to me about the content. And also, he loves me and will always tell me my work (and everything else about me) is wonderful. If I want real, honest feedback, I’ll show my work to my daughter or to my critique group.

  16. I show almost all of my work to my partner. She’s my reality check and editor. I know there’s something wrong when she hesitates to comment, because she doesn’t want to hurt me. I reassure her that I value her opinion, and she inevitably gives useful feedback. Sometimes we argue language through (in a positive way). My work is inevitably stronger after she reads it.

  17. Not before it’s published.
    I know the quality and readability might suffer, but I prefer the diary tone to that of a professional piece. It feels much more authentic and unique, which are what many of people are shooting for.

    Maybe that’s why my writing is horrible! 😛

  18. Am I the only one who really does NOT want my other half reading a W.I.P? He drives me nuts any time I work while he is home. He does not mean to. He is trying to show interest but he interrupts me while I am working to ask what I am writing. I do not want to hurt his feelings but when I am in “the zone” I don’t want to stop working to tell him what I am doing.

    Even if he waited to read my content after I had a draft ready I am not sure I would want him critiquing it. He doesn’t share my interest in writing or literature. I just do not think he would be that great a critic. He has no practice in writing mechanics, character development, etc. I fear if he did try to offer any sort of real opinion I might come off that I don’t value his opinion because I doubt his interest and/or his knowledge. I also doubt he would offer a genuine critique out of fear of hurting my feelings. It would probably only spark an argument rather than help in any way.

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