Most of us writerly types need an audience. It takes readers for us to feel complete. We aren't content to just write, put it away and write some more. We need feedback, we need readers, we need validation. Since it takes courage to show our work, we often start with those guaranteed to be supportive, like family members.
I remember a scene from a film of about 20 years ago, when the main character (a journalist) played by Chevy Chase, moves to the country where he plans to write a novel. When it's finished, he takes his wife out to a wonderful inn for their anniversary, and then leads her to a comfortable chair next to the fire for the big surprise. Voila! He hands her his finished ms.
"Read it!" he says.
"Right now?" she asks. She's all dressed up for a night on the town.
"Yes!" he replies. "Go ahead. We have all night. I'll wait right here." And he watches her every move and expression while she reads the entire thing.
Yep, that's us writers! Almost pathetic in our eagerness to get readers. I used to read my stories out loud to my kids, picking those choice moments when they would be a willing/captive audience. Like when they didn't want to go to bed. "I'll let you stay up longer if you listen to this story I wrote!"
Once that final draft is done, the writer needs a reader. It's a must have. For Stephen King, it's his wife Tabitha. He writes all his books with her in mind, and she's the first one to read his final draft. Mine is my daughter, who is also now an editor (I guess I trained her well back in the day!)
Who is your first reader? Who makes up your favorite first audience once the final draft is done?
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf