I had a conversation with a friend that got me thinking. We were talking shop, and he mentioned that he'd always been interested in writing. My brain immediately did a little dance at the prospect of another writing compatriot. He said that he never made good on the endeavor because he had grammar and punctuation issues . Bah, mere mechanics, easily fixable. Just write the story and worry about that in editing. The mastery comes with practice. Then he got this sheepish look and admitted that another reason was that he was afraid that his friends wouldn't want to be his friends anymore upon reading anything he wrote. I smiled and welcomed him to the club; we meet every time we set pen to paper. :)
That feeling is no small obstacle to overcome. It's terrifying prospect, especially when you're first starting out and everyone's threshold is different. For years the only thing that I would let anyone read was the stuff I had to write for school. It was easier to let people read the compulsory created work rather than the labors of love. I'm a lot better about it now, but I think the anxiousness never truly goes away.
So what is it about the idea of having those in your inner circle read your work that bothers so many of us?
Maybe it's the stranger factor? It's very easy to not care all that much about a random person's opinion. Less so when you're related to them. The insight angle? Perhaps a project is working through some personal issues or problems skillfully disguised as a post-apocalyptic action story (hey, I'm not here to judge issues). The chance of it being recognized for what it is may cause more trouble than you're prepared to deal with. At the very least, you may have to sleep on the couch or the promise of helping them move for the rest of your life. Or maybe, just maybe, it's the image issue? Nothing shakes the foundation of the image of a self-described scary chick than accidentally writing a kinda romance. *cough, cough* Not that I'd know anything about that type of thing.
The most important thing, though, is realizing that you can work on those issues while you're busy writing away. And the great thing is that you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Whether you want to write stories for you and keep them under lock and key, great;or keep them among family and friends, also great; or pursue publication, that, too, is great. You see the theme? :)
Like everything about writing, what you do with it depends on what you want out of it, and it's all great.