I joined a new writer's group last week, showing up at 6:00 not knowing a soul. I had missed the first meeting the previous week, so everybody else there already knew one another. I was asked to read my work (Assignment #3, in progress) before I learned anything about the others' interests or abilities. At perfect ease, I introduced myself and read my two pages.
There was a time in my life when I wouldn't have had the courage to even show up, much less read my work aloud to total strangers. "Courage?" you say. "Why, that's as easy as falling off a log." Yeah, I know.
It is . . . now.