My first article - Take a Chance (posted last month on Gather) dealt with the fear of exposing your work to others. I posted this article on other sites and have received much feedback. The consensus from the comments I received were;
1) The fear that one's writing has not reached the appropriate learning curve/level.
2) Finding trustworthy individuals who give constructive criticism without sounding harsh.
3) The fear of only being able to right "One" novel.
Below, I have quickly commented on the the first two issues, and will expand on the issues should the interest continue.
Cast aside agents, critics, and publishers. In the end...we are our worst critics. It's somewhat akin to hearing a recorded sound of your own voice. We always cringe when we hear ourselves played back, but this is the sound that everyone around us hears. Think of your writing in that light. You will find the perception of others to be quite different from the "cringe" you are feeling. Start with a "soft" audience; immediate family and loved ones. Then move to the "warm" audience; friends and acquaintances that have reading interests similar to the genre you're writing. For the most part, you will find their critiques to be not so...brutal. Be mindful of what they say and see if there is a trend. That could be a launching point for any possible adjustments/revisions. Sometimes setting high standards for yourself results in paralysis.
There are no more excuses for not exposing your content to the world. Small Presses (which I belong) are obtaining reputable mention for their authors as well as turning sales. The stigma of Self-publishing has also deteriorated with the advent of e-publishing. One can have a fulfilling literary career, or side-gig without relying solely on the large publishing Houses. It's a great time to be an author, and I'm excited for myself and all those who are apart of this journey.
Best of luck,