One of the hardest things about being a writer is showing your drafts to other people. We all have to do it at some point, but it is often not easy to see your work torn limb from limb. But the fear of exposure is crippling. Many scholars suffer when they are unwilling to share their papers at an early stage because they feel that others will think less of them. So here are a few tips on how to handle this:
1. People who are well informed understand that drafts often have problems. That’s why they are drafts. They aren’t judging you (yet).
2. Better that errors be pointed out before publication than after.
3. Don’t get defensive. Critics aren’t attacking you; they are attacking your work.
4. Sometimes an idea just doesn’t fly. Cut your losses if everyone tells you it’s terrible.
5. Often it is easier to omit something than to fix it.
6. Even the best drafters needed editing. Jefferson’s first cut of the Declaration of Independence was significantly altered. So was Lincoln’s First Inaugural. If they weren’t perfect, why should you be?