Suppose an agent and publisher had just accepted your book and wanted you to do a book tour. Are you ready to stand up in front of strangers and read a passage? Might as well begin to practice now!
In my city I discovered WordStorm, a place where writers of all stripes can sign up to read a three minute excerpt from their work. I signed up two minutes before it started by putting my name on the bottom of the list on the table by the door. The audience claps enthusiastically for each reader. There’s then a brief intermission with snacks and then two featured poets/writers shared their creativity. It’s a good way to hear some published authors as they share some of their journey directly.
I can state with clarity that I know what will happen if you never let anyone see your writing. Nothing will happen. Maybe someone will appreciate it once you lose the ability to protest but who knows if you’ll be conscious then to notice.
Begin by reading a passage from your writing to someone in your community. You may get another shy writer to sidle up to you at the break and whisper that they liked your poem. Maybe your bravery will encourage them and you’ll have the honour to have nudged the author of the next great North American novel forward.