There are times when you shouldn’t show your work to people. Not yet. Not when you’re first starting and you know it’s bad. When you know it’s bad, why are you looking for feedback?
When you’re a new creator, generally you’re not looking for true feedback. You’re looking for validation of what you’ve done. You’re looking for a pat on the head, and for the work to go up on the fridge in order to show your very small world what you’ve done. (It’s a very small world because how many people are allowed in your home, let alone will be able to look at your fridge?) This is otherwise known as an ego-stroke, and unless you’ve got a lot of time with butt-in-chair, honing your talent, a pat on the head is really all you’re going to get.
As a moderator for Digital Webbing, and as a member of that community for over a decade, I’ve seen a lot of wannabe creators come and post their work, work that they spent a long time on but nowhere near enough, and ask for critiques. When those critiques were respectful and broke down every single thing they did incorrectly, a lot of these people invariably freaked, tried to defend the work, and then took their ball and left, never to be heard from again. They weren’t ready for real feedback.
I run The Proving Grounds, a free editing service for writers looking to hone their skills, and I’m getting a lot of first-time writers coming through. A lot of the writers who come through are looking for a pat on the head, to be told their great and ready for Marvel or DC, and to be sent their way. (I don’t know the latter part of that for fact.) When they’re torn apart for basic mistakes such as format, punctuation and spelling, and then told about their bad storytelling, most aren’t able to recover from that. I get very few people who come through a second time.
(A word of warning: it’s called The Proving Grounds for a reason. Have your stuff together before you enter. Few punches are pulled. Read a few entries first.)
The best time to look for feedback is when you’re satisfied with what you’ve wrought, and you’re looking for ways to make it better. This is the time when you’re supposed to post your work somewhere, because you’re looking to refine it. You’re looking to perfect it, however that may be possible. You’re looking for ways to grow. It is during this time that you can actually hear criticism for what it is: a way to help you grow.
Don’t look for feedback when you don’t think you can hear it. Imagine the worst things being said about your work first, and if you can’t handle the thought of it, then you won’t be able to handle the reality of it. If you know it’s flawed, work out the flaws first.
Feedback is best received when you’re truly ready for it.